Painting a soup bowl on Aug. 17 will give a ‘spoonful’ of help to Sophia’s Kitchen

People will have the opportunity to paint two soup bowls at fundraising sessions set for Wednesday, Aug. 17, at Sophia's Kitchen, 105 N. Richard Pryor Place in Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Who wants to think about soup in summer heat?

Claire Crone hopes you will and participate in Spoonful, a two-part fundraiser for Sophia’s Kitchen, a mission of St. Joseph Church in Peoria.

The first part of Spoonful is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 17, when people will have the opportunity to paint two soup bowls. The painting parties will take place at Sophia’s Kitchen, 105 N. Richard Pryor Place, from 10 a.m. to noon, from 2 to 4 p.m., and from 5 to 7 p.m.

Crone, director of Sophia’s Kitchen, said the materials are being supplied again by Fired Up, a pottery studio in Peoria Heights. The cost is $30.

Beth Wharton painted the word “amore” or “love” at the bottom of the bowl she made as part of the Spoonful fundraiser for Sophia’s Kitchen in Peoria last fall. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

While the painting parties were held at Fired Up last year, owner Katie Faletti suggested moving to Sophia’s Kitchen this year.

“They have a beautiful place, but it’s a little bit smaller,” Crone said. “It also means that I’m not out of the kitchen. I can still be available for my volunteers if they need me during that time.”

She added that Faletti wanted to make sure that people could see the kitchen and its mission, as well as observe how food is prepared and served and how clients are treated. Crone hopes to provide scholarships so some of the clients can sit in and paint bowls, too.

“We know we have some very talented people out there,” she told The Catholic Post.

Registration is preferred so that enough materials are available, but Crone said she would do her best to accommodate people who walk in. There is room for about 50 people during each painting party.

To sign up, visit bit.ly/3ogc6H3.

TIME FOR SOUP

The second part of Spoonful will be held on Sunday, Oct. 2, and feature soups made by volunteer chefs at Sophia’s Kitchen and then frozen. Quarts of the soup will be sold for $12, and may be ordered in advance.

The bowls made on Aug. 17 will be sold for $25 each that day.

A full list of soups isn’t available yet, but Crone said Roxy Baker, one of the hosts of the Rik and Roxy Show on WWCT 99.9 FM, will be offering her popular fish chowder again this year. Another celebrity cook — Annie Perkins, Sophia’s Kitchen’s 2022 Golden Sandwich Award winner — has committed to making Chicken Sausage Gumbo.

“If I get enough volunteers to sign up — and I think that I will — we’re going to try a fresh option this year where people can come in and dine on Oct. 2. We’ll be here from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” she said. “I’m also working on getting some sweets and some bread made so that we’ll have that on-site, too.”

Last year’s Spoonful fundraiser made about $10,000 for Sophia’s Kitchen.

For more details, look for Sophia’s Kitchen on Facebook.

MORE NEED, DESPAIR

As many as 400 people are receiving sack lunches and something to drink each weekday this summer at Sophia’s Kitchen, according to Crone.

“We’re seeing new faces this year,” she said. “We always have a little bit of turnover, but I’m getting calls almost daily from people who have never been to a soup kitchen before, who are finding that they’re really struggling and want to know what we’re going to be able to offer them.”

Inflation is hitting her clients hard and people are reaching out because their cupboards are bare. “So there’s a lot more need in that direction,” Crone said.

In addition to more homeless people, she’s seeing more people with mental illness that are not being served right now. On a recent morning, for example, one client who came to the window was threatening to commit suicide.

And there are more children. Crone said funding for food stamps is a bit less this year so families are struggling with that, as well.

Sophia’s Kitchen is offering a food pantry every Friday and a pet pantry on Thursdays.

“For a lot of these people, (their pet) is the only stable thing in their life that provides them love, which is pretty said,” Crone told The Post. “They’ve been hurt and damaged by so many people in their life, but their dog is a constant for them.”

She tries to make certain that they can count on Sophia’s Kitchen and its volunteers, however.

“We’re going to give as much as we possibly can — and that’s more than just a peanut butter sandwich,” Crone said. “It’s going to be respect. It’s going to be whatever else we can find to help them out of the despair that they’re in.”

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