Knoxville SOUP will heat up Thursday

Betsy PickleOur Town Neighbors

Four diverse community projects will vie for funding at Knoxville SOUP on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Kerbela Temple, 315 Mimosa Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m., with presentations starting at 6:30.

Knoxville SOUP is a micro-funding event that offers a meal of soup, salad, bread and dessert as well as a chance to vote to fund one of four projects seeking to serve the community. Attendees are asked to donate $5 at the door, with all the funds raised going to the night’s top vote-getter.

The four projects presenting at this Thursday’s SOUP will be:

Child Hearing Services Holiday Event. Child Hearing Services, a clinical program of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Audiology & Speech Pathology, serves on a weekly basis about 90 patients who use cochlear implants, hearing aids and/or bone-anchored hearing devices. For more than 30 years, the department has held a holiday event for participants and graduates of the program.

Due to UT policy changes, the event can no longer be held at local churches, as it has in the past. Starting this year, a space must be rented, food provided and presents for children purchased by the department.

The event gives children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing a chance to hang out with people with the same diagnosis and also lets parents support each other while their children play together and spend time with Santa.

Soul Full Southern Nutritional Needs is a nonprofit that believes nutritional literacy is a right and seeks to provide education – free of charge – through cookbooks, brochures and other outreach. The group’s first major endeavor is publishing a cookbook in early 2020 that will be distributed through 15 Knoxville and Knox County food pantries. “From Food Pantry to Table” is a collection of three-dozen recipes that show how to turn food-pantry items into nutritious and delicious meals.

Founder Willa Essie notes that food insecurity is a problem for thousands of East Tennesseans, many of whom count on food pantries to augment their food supplies but aren’t aware of the potential variety they can have in their menus. She believes that teaching people good nutrition that’s also enjoyable will also help with combating such health issues as diabetes and high blood pressure. SFS is seeking funds to help offset the cost of printing copies of the cookbook.

Vestal Gateway Park Extension is a project of the Vestal Community Organization, which has spearheaded the park in Downtown Vestal. The city of Knoxville has supported improvements and investments in the area, but the closing of Vestal United Methodist Church has been a blow to revitalization.

The VCO would use SOUP funds to seed the wildflower meadow, which was adopted by the Vestal Boys & Girls Club, and supplement existing landscaping with plants that will attract and support birds and butterflies. Colorful plantings in the park will also make it more attractive for community activities.

SKE Scientists on the Playground is a project to enhance scientific discovery outdoors for students at South Knoxville Elementary School. It would include repurposing an existing shed into storage space for science materials, adding a presentation table and providing creative seating for students to engage in three-dimensional scientific phenomena.

The science area is the first part of a needed upgrade to the SKE playground, which is open to the community and will be shared with partners such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Bridge Church, Island Home Park Neighborhood Association and Old Sevier Community Group. SOUP funds would support supplies for painting, storage, signage, seating and science materials.

After listening to brief presentations on the projects, attendees eat and discuss the projects, then vote on their favorite. The project that wins the most votes gets the take from the door. There are also raffle prizes provided by an assortment of community businesses. Knoxville SOUP is presented by the South Knoxville Alliance, but projects from all over the county are encouraged to participate.




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