Saturday was a big night for one lucky person as they received the coveted Golden Ladle Award during the basketball game between the Fairbury Jeffs and the Thayer Central Titans (girls and boys) as part of Soup it up for Kids.
Joni Runge took home the award after people voted her cheeseburger soup as the crowd favorite. She explained she was excited to finally be able to take the Golden Ladle home after competing for it for several years.
“I’ve gotten to help out with Soup it up for Kids for many years, but I’ve never won the Golden Ladle,” said Runge. “It’s just amazing! I made cheeseburger soup for the family a couple of weeks ago, and the kids loved it, so that’s the one we decided to go with.”
Jeremy Christiansen, who helped to organize Soup it up for Kids, explained that there was an outstanding turnout for the event, noting that it all goes toward a great cause.
“It all went really well,” Christiansen said. “We had another great slate of soups; we had eight different soup donations. There was lots of variety, and lots of unique types of soup. It was great. It takes a lot of work to pull this all together, but it’s worth it because we are helping to provide food for families in Fairbury.”
The funds raised from the event go to the Fairbury Community Food Bank, a program started with the help of the Food Bank of Lincoln. This program provides food to families who have children in Fairbury Public Schools. Christiansen explained that there are many people who utilize the services through the program, which is why this fundraiser is so important to help keep it going.
“This is our major fundraiser for the year,” said Christiansen. “We were very busy this year. There are some years where there are some soups left over, but that wasn’t the case this year. All of the funds that are raised go directly to the Fairbury Food Market Program. Once a month, we provide supplemental food for families who choose to participate. We typically have between 50 and 75 families who come each month, and they take home about 25 to 30 pounds of food.”
Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of Soup it up for Kids. Christiansen explained that there will be some special opportunities that come with that anniversary.
“One of our goals is to compile a cookbook with the various kinds of recipes that we’ve had over the past 10 years,” Christiansen said.
Runge was grateful to see all of the support from both communities at the basketball game. She noted that there were a number of people from Thayer Central who helped to support the cause with Soup it up for Kids. She is already looking forward to the competition next year, though she hasn’t decided what soup she will make.
“I have 364 days to plan for the next competition,” said Runge. “I’m looking forward to making something special for the 10th anniversary.”