Students’ Soup Tasting To Benefit Food Drive

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Soup kitchens normally feed the hungry, but a group of Payson High School students hope to make those normally fed feel hungry with their own twist on a soup kitchen.

From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 2 at the Rim Country Middle School cafeteria, spend $2 to taste delicious, handcrafted soups that leave you with the slight taste of dissatisfaction.

PHS teacher Shelly Camp said the goal of the bread line is not to feed until guests are full, but to bring awareness to the feeling of being hungry, something a growing number of the community feels every day as they struggle to feed themselves and their family through the economic depression.

“We want them to walk away feeling unsatisfied,” she said.

Intermediate culinary art students will dole out three varieties of soup, only the servings will be

more like tastings rather than full servings. Students hope this nominal serving will bring light to the fact that for many Rim Country residents, feeling hungry all the time is a reality.

Despite food bank donations, many families struggle to get enough nutrition.

At the high school, Camp said she has seen the number of students on free or reduced lunch rise dramatically since she started with the school more than two years ago.

When students in Camp’s service learning class were asked to think up a project to educate the community about hunger/homelessness, a soup kitchen was one of the proposed projects. Last year, with the launch of the Payson Area Food Drive (PAFD), students realized that with a soup kitchen they could raise money for the food drive at the same time bringing awareness to the plight of hunger.

Last year, students raised at least $300 for the PAFD and Camp hopes this year more residents will attend.

Other projects students are working on include teen driving safety and literacy.

Camp received a $15,000 Learn and Serve grant to fund several events through the school year that bring awareness to these issues.

For the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, students sold tickets for the soup kitchen and collected food donations for the PAFD. A group of six students collected three boxes of food and $100 in a little under three hours, Camp said.

On March 11, students will host the third annual Project Ignition. The program, which focuses on safe driving habits, has ranked in the top 10 nationally two years in a row.

Later in the year, students plan to kick off Project Literacy by reading to elementary-aged children and handing out books.

On April 15, students will present their projects at the National Service Learning Conference held in Atlanta.

Tickets for the soup kitchen are available at the PHS front office, 514 Wade Lane, and the Payson Roundup, 708 N. Beeline Highway.

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