Tuesday afternoon several hundred ladies and gentleman who lunch, including Mayor and Mrs. Mike Rawlings, gathered to dine for a very worthy cause, the annual SOUP’S ON event benefiting The Stewpot and hosted by The Stewpot Alliance. Led by 2011 SOUP’s On Chair Tonya Meier, and hosted by Lascaux Films Managing Partner/Producer Gary Cogill, formerly with WFAA-TV, the luncheon helps raise both awareness and funds for this 30+ year old organization.
The Stewpot was started in 1975 by The First Presbyterian Church in downtown Dallas to be a safe haven for people who have fallen on hard times, the homeless and at-risk individuals of Dallas who need a helping hand and a warm meal, which is generously provided along with resources for helping get them back on their feet. Over the last 30+ years The Stewpot has also helped start new organizations of help for the community including Austin Street Center, Genesis Women’s Shelter, Interfaith Housing and The Bridge. Today The Bridge serves between 1500-2000 warm meals to the homeless of Dallas each and every day.
The 2012 SOUP’S On goal was to raise $250K and though totals haven’t been fully calculated the giving spirit was in the air, dominating this feel good event. Chef Chair Brian Luscher of The Grape led a group of gracious chefs in the first course soup preparation, his The Grape’s creamy, dreamy Mushroom Soup. Other offerings included Chef Janice Provost/Parigi created a lavish Tortilla Soup with all the fixings; Chef Abraham Salum/Salum & Komali brought in Mexican flare with Crema de Poblano con Camarones en Pasilla; Chef Keith Hanks/Capital Grille made a Beef and Vegetable Minestrone; Chef Bruno Davaillon/Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek presented a Lima Been and Ham Hock Soup with Mustard Oil; Chef Randall Copeland/Restaurant Ava made a Potato and Andouille Chowder; Chef Matt McCallister/Campo Modern Country Bistro made a vegetarian Organic Cauliflower Soup; and Chef Kevin Garvin/Neiman Marcus Restaurants created a White Bean and Chicken Chili. I had a chance to try Chef Garvin’s delicious chili filled with mounds of chicken and topped with lots of melted cheese, along with the vegetarian offering, Chef McCallister’s cauliflower soup that tasted like it had a pound of butter and cream in it, but to the joy of my waistline included neither.
As the Wolfgang Puck catered main course was served author, journalist and speaker Jeannette Walls took the stage to deliver her humorous, uplifting, sincere and deeply personal story of poverty and homelessness as a child, as chronicled in her memoir The Glass Castle. Though growing up she was often homeless, Walls noted that she had the most optimistic upbringing that encouraged creativity, adventure, personal strength, a can-do attitude and self-confidence, helping her achieve the success she has found through her life.
The beauty of the work The Stewpot does is help those who may just need a little optimism, encouragement and guidance while getting back on their feet, following their motto “serving second chances.” It is one of the most important charities in Dallas, truly helping our fellow man.
I noted last year in my post after this luncheon how impressive the turn out and how positive everyone involved and who attended were in their desire to help. I was overly pleased to see the generosity continue this year for this important cause.