Armed with hefty appetites in a fight against hunger, more than 250 Boston area residents headed to Roxbury Sunday afternoon to support the city’s oldest soup kitchen.
The Haley House Bakery Café held its sixth annual soup sampling fundraiser called “Souper Bowl Six,” where attendees sampled a dozen soups from area farms, restaurants and culinary schools.
“This is a favorite (fundraiser),” said Bing Broderick, executive director of the Haley House Bakery Café. “This is a favorite because people have something they can take home with them and they will always remember that event when they use that bowl.”
Event supporters paid $30 to select ceramic bowls made and donated by art student organization “Clay for Change” at Massachusetts College of Art and the Center for Art and Community Partnerships.
Donors then navigated the Café’s standing-room-only restaurant and kitchen at 13 Dade Street, moving from station to station to sample soups, containing locally sourced ingredients.
Among the participating organizations manning the soup stations were Fulani’s Kitchen, Cuisine En Locale, Future Chefs and The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.
Danielle Andrews with The Food Project said all the ingredients in her soup were grown by her nonprofit’s farm.
“It’s a French Canadian soup. It’s a turnip soup,” she said. “I’m one quarter French Canadian, and my mom used to make this soup growing up.”
Souper Bowl newcomer Fresh Food Generation offered a traditional Cape Verdean soup called Cachupa.
“It has about everything you can grow in a garden,” said cofounder Jackson Renshaw. “It has collards, kale, sweet potatoes, onions, corn. It has garlic, beef. It’s got it all.”
Haley House Bakery Café chef Nathaniel Awan teamed up with guest volunteer chef David Kay to produce a signature sweet and spicy parsnip vegan soup, with bacon garnish for those who like meat.
“We got the triple threat,” said Kay. “We got the vegan, we got the vegetarian and we got the carnivore. So, we can serve all three and make everybody happy.”
The six-year-old fundraiser between the College of Art and the Café has expanded to include bowls made not only by art students but area residents, said Ceci Mendez, director of the Center for Art and Community partnerships at Mass Art.
“The more we put our heads together and our hearts together and expand the collaboration, the richer it gets,” said Mendez at Sunday’s event.
Roxbury resident Mimi Jones explained why she returned to support the fundraiser for a third year in a row.
The reason that they have this (is) to support people who are getting their lives back together,” said Jones. “It’s enriching people’s lives. It’s changing people’s lives. And it’s also very healthy.”
Somerville resident Jacob Mathews returned for second helpings of Awan and Kay’s parsnip soup.
“Anything with bacon is going to be good,” Mathews said. “The apples are a really nice flavor on top. The whole parsnip thing too is really enjoyable.”
Roxbury business owner Michael Thomas, a Souper Bowl first-timer echoed Jones.
“I think this is a very wonderful idea… training people in the culinary arts and giving employment opportunities to people who need a second chance,” he said.
Proceeds from the Café’s sold-out event support the Haley House’s soup kitchen located at 23 Dartmouth Street in the city’s South End. To make donations, supporters can visit the Haley House donation page at www.haleyhouse.org/give.
An attendee enjoys a bowl of soup at the Haley House Bakery Café’s sixth annual soup sampling fundraiser held Sunday in Roxbury.