Souper Supper in the Poconos

Souper Supper In The Poconos

Thu 22 Sep 2011

Story by Kim Ykemas
 

Food Revolution Group of the Week!

The Poconos of Northeast Pennsylvania is largely rural with some influx from New York City commuters. It's hard to find affordable organic produce in this area. Even non-organic fresh produce isn't the norm for most low-income families around here.


I started the Pocono PA Food Revolution group to meet others in this area who care about healthy eating. It also sounds like there's interest in community gardening; I hope that will lead to an organic greenhouse that will provide veggies to food pantries year-round plus cooking classes for those who don't know what to do with fresh produce.

Dinner 4 All is a community-based group of people who live or work in Greene and Dreher Townships and one of the community activities I aim to involve my group in. They are neighbors serving neighbors whose mission is to nourish the body, hearts and spirits of our neighbours, in Greebe & Dreher Townships, PA, by providing free dinner oriented events throughout the year. They have raised funds to provide seed money for dinners that are "pay what you can" events.

The first meal was on January 22, 2011, with 233 people attending. After the meal, homemade meatballs, sauce, rolls and desserts were donated to help stock the two local food pantries. Donations from the Homemade Spaghetti Dinner were used to cover expenses then checks for $700 each were presented to the Pike County Food Pantry and the Newfoundland Community Pantry.

On April 2, 2011 at our Souper Supper Event, over 300 people shared a meal of homemade soups, salad, bread, beverages, and desserts sponsored by Dinner 4 All, a group of over 30 community members in the Pocono Mountain region of northeast Pennsylvania. After everyone voted for their favorite soup and the best table decorations, the event was topped off with an award ceremony for the hard-working volunteers who made 80 gallons of soup

The Tobyhanna-Newfoundland Lions Club provided ten loaves of homemade bread in addition to the willing labor to set up, serve, and clean up. Hemlock Grove Methodist Church filled three tables with an assortment of homemade desserts and tasty goodies. Dutch’s Market in Greentown provided salad, rolls, paper products, and beverages at cost in addition to offering freezer space for the leftover soups that were donated to local food pantries. The Greene Dreher Volunteer Fire Hall provided the facility for the event.

When the competition started to warm up, you could see the team members schmoozing with the residents then you could hear clapping and cheers as a ticket was dropped in a bag to add another point to the tally. Team members maintained a friendly atmosphere, tasting the other teams’ soups and voting for a Chef’s Choice Best Soup, being sure not to vote for their own creation. Residents and team members mingled, renewing old friendships and making new ones, and swapping stories about the history of the community.

These teams received awards after voting was complete:

• Best Table Decorations: Newfoundland Hotel
• Chef’s Choice, Best Soup: Desperate Housewives of Greene-Dreher
• People’s Choice, Best Soup: Taste of the South

Event coordinator Marita Wenner said, “We achieved our goal of involving the entire Greene-Dreher community in participation and nourished many bodies, minds and spirits of our neighbors.” Over $1400 was donated to cover costs and help the local community. The Dinner 4 All committee voted to distribute funds to two community groups on April 7th: $350 to the Greene-Dreher Volunteer Fire Hall in Newfoundland and $150 to the Flag Fund.

Eating low-processed food is my passion. It saved my life, almost literally, and I'd like to help others discover freedom from pain and excess weight. I'm working on a masters degree in Social Work at Marywood University in Scranton so I can have credentials that will open doors for me in my community. What I have learned from Food Revolution will be key component in my research papers and family counseling.

About the author: Kim Ykema is a member of Dinner 4 All and was on the planning committee for the souper supper event. Kim is also the founder of the Poconos PA Food Revolution group.

Souper Supper - April 2, 2011
Souper Supper Raises $1400 for Community
Dinner 4 All

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