Brown sugar lobster bourbon cream. Roasted pumpkin and butternut squash bisque. Cream of acorn squash. And that’s not even counting whatever Mayta’s Peruvian Cuisine offered, which, according to Amy Newton, the finance director of the Frederick Rescue Mission, included actual Peruvian chicken in it.
If October is the time of year during which a change in season feels most palpable, it’d be hard to find a more apt event than the rescue mission’s Souper Sunday. Showcasing 10 soups from 10 Frederick restaurants, the Sunday afternoon event at Ayse Meze Lounge raised money for the mission, which provides programs to help everyone from those who are homeless to those who suffer from addiction, among other things.
The event was one of many fundraising efforts the mission conducts each year, said Meg Yoho, ministries coordinator for the organization. It also allows her to help others, which is something out of which she has made a career since joining the mission as a volunteer about four years ago.
“I sometimes gravitate toward people who are hurting,” Yoho said. “So, I had a lot of time and I wanted to use it well, to give whatever I have to offer. It’s really what I want to do.”
Helping others is never a solo task, though, and Yoho was quick to point out how Sunday’s event was a team effort. Between 30 and 40 volunteers helped out at Ayse, with even the restaurant itself chipping in, donating the patio for the mission to use free of charge.
Heading into Souper Sunday, about 260 tickets were sold, Yoho explained, though she estimated that before all was said and done, at least 300 people would be walking through the doors. It was the seventh year of the event, and while numbers were scarce late Sunday, she also noted that it typically raises somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 for the mission.
While tickets were $30, the price included a handcrafted bowl from Frederick Clay Studio, as well as bread, dessert, and, of course 10 different soups from which patrons could chose. Attendees could also vote for which soup they deemed the best. The winner, which was announced late Sunday night, then received a trophy for their efforts.
The competition wasn’t really at the center of people’s minds, though, as soup enthusiasts dug into offerings from Hootch and Banter, Lazy Fish, White Rabbit, Firestones, Dutch’s Daughter, Family Meal, Isabella’s, Brewer’s Alley, Mayta’s Peruvian Cuisine and Ayse Meze. Instead, according to Linda Hartman, who offered her time as one of the day’s volunteers, the gathering was more about raising money for those in need.
“I like to serve others; it’s just something I do,” Hartman said as she held a plate of three soups. “Why am I here if I can’t help others?”