Community competition in its 14th year
By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
Some favorite soups and chilis will be in the spotlight Tuesday, when Kinship of Morrison County hosts its 14th annual Soup and Chili Cookoff fundraiser.
From 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., at the Falls Ballroom in Little Falls, guests can enjoy an evening of soup, chili, fellowship and competition. A silent auction and raffle will add to the proceeds to benefit Kinship’s youth mentoring program.
“Cookers,” as Aaron Olson, executive director of Kinship, calls them, will vie for one of three cash prizes in each category, as well as the “People’s Choice” traveling trophy.
Challengers signed up to take part in the fun include Granny’s Cafe, Swanville, who last year won the “Theme Trophy” and took second in People’s Choice for their chili.
Perkins will be back with a chili and a cheese soup, as will Morrison County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) with Loralee’s first place family chili. St. Gabriel’s Hospital took third last year, and will be back featuring a spicy chicken and black bean soup.
Lake Beauty Bible Camp returns with its “Better Than Yours” chili, which won the Poeple’s Choice last year and Cabin Fever is whipping up chicken Florentine soup.
Other contestants will be Creative Catering from Rice; Fort Steakhouse, Fort Ripley; Jordie’s Trailside Cafe, Bowlus; RadioShack, Little Falls and Zylka’s Red Bull Bar.
“Typically we have about 15 entries, so for sure we’re going to be at that or even more when all is said and done,” said Olson.
In addition to soup and chili, bread sticks, milk and ice cream will be served. Kids can have their faces painted and entertainment will be provided by the Crow River String Band.
As is the custom, attendees are able to vote for their favorite soup or chili. The winning cooks will take home the “People’s Choice” award.
The goal of the evening, said Olson, of course is to raise funds for the program.More importantly, Olson said is the possibility of recruiting a few more mentors.
The last year and a half more kids have been coming in. “We’re gaining kids and mentors have also been stepping forward,” said Olson. ‘But there are always more kids than mentors and that’s really the purpose.”
While they’d like to raise the money, Olson said if he had a choice between a few thousand dollars or gain two, three or four mentors, “hands-down, I’d rather have the mentors than the cash,” he said.
“They’re a big part of why we do the night,” he said. “We want to get the message out about mentoring, Kinship and how they can help.”
Everyone gets to leave with a flyer — and “A good taste for Kinship,” Olson said.
Currently kinship serves 38 kids, which Olson said has gone up significantly. Of those 38 kids, 24 have matches.
Last year Kinship expanded into Long Prairie because the Kinship program there had closed.
“They ran out of money,” said Olson. “We started the process last year.”
Since then, Kinship has gained its first female and male volunteers and made its first match from Long Prairie.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Olson.
Tickets are available at a reduced rate from Kinship volunteers or the Kinship office, 107 2nd St. S.E., Little Falls, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, prior to the event.