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Pine River area Soup & Sweets fundraiser draws soup-er crowd


Communities are as individual as people. They have their own personalities, strengths, weaknesses, appearances, basic moral structures and goals.

I picture the Hollywood community as glitzy, catering to the rich and narcissists, attracting star-wannabes and star groupies. I picture their people as willing to step on or over anyone to get ahead.

Our Pine River-Backus community is in a class of its own!

The people who reside in our area have the “village” mentality, meaning we are all responsible for the greater good of each community member. While we are committed to the success of area businesses and believe in dreaming of what we hope to see here tomorrow, we still hold fast to the basic building blocks we hold dear — family values, safe neighborhoods and pride in our history.

When our community members reach out to succeed here at home, at the same time they reach back to help others reach their potential also. Our Pine River-Backus community members are committed to servitude at home.

Generally speaking, our area is classified as rural and depressed economically. The number of clients who come to the Pine River Area Food Shelf have increased dramatically in the last five years. More and more of our neighbors are facing food insecurity.

But, no matter how long the lines at the door get, the food shelf has been able to meet the needs because of the generosity and dedication in our community to take care of their own. Outside funding sources may be tightening their purses or drying up completely, but we have been able to count on the great people of the Pine River-Backus community to continue to help us find resources.

For the first time, the Pine River Area Food Shelf held a fundraiser recently called the Community Soup & Sweets event. The whole event was centered on the awesome soup choices made possible from our “Soup-er” donors. Our guests raved about every soup they chose.

Many guests chose the sampler platter so they could taste everyone’s fare. Our guests commented that they would have to enjoy the soups again at the restaurants that donated the soup.

Many people chose Hungarian Mushroom because they already knew how fantastic it was from ordering it at Bites. I was told the Reuben Soup was just like having a Reuben sandwich without the bread. The Cottage Café was the creator of this hit.

Another well known and loved soup was Dark Cravings’ Tomato Basil. Many chowder fans were very happy with the Sausage and Corn Chowder donated from Jr.’s No. 19. Ole & Lena’s chef’s creation of Vegetable Beef Soup was just heaped in the middle.

Thankfully, 371 Station sponsored the purchase of some paper products and utensils. The Pine River Bakery shared their fantastic brownies, which helped fill our sweets table. Many guests left with soup to-go. The Family Market provided containers for these orders.

Every Friday night, our Pine River American Legion has a supper with the most scrumptious rolls; they donated a case of these rolls to our event. The Warehouse was the perfect location and space to hold the event. We thank the Riverview Church for donating the use of it.

Our deepest bow and humblest thanks go out to the wonderful people who took the time out of their busy day to support our mission by dropping in for lunch. It was an awesome and wonderful event because so many volunteers brainstormed what-ifs, baked bars, decorated, set up and tore down, served soups, pushed raffle tickets and marketed.

They all worked to make a simple idea a reality.

The beautiful quilts were the artwork of Janice Stephan Weaver and Bev Wignes. Other raffle gifts were collected and donated by Pine River-Backus board members and food shelf volunteers. Linda Rasinski, president of the PR-B Family Center board of directors, recruited and paid for the entertainment by Lauren.

The Soup & Sweets fundraiser was only a success because of the generous support of the businesses and the servitude hearts of the Pine River-Backus people. For whatever part you played, our sincerest gratitude goes out to you.

Hunger is a real issue in too many homes in our community, and your caring is making a real difference in this fight to feed the hungry.

(Kathy Stephan is on the advisory board for the Pine River Area Food Shelf and treasurer of the board of directors for the PR-B Family Center that oversees the agency.)

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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