I love to cook. Cooking soup is one of the best ways to use extra stuff in my refrigerator or garden. Nearly a decade ago, I came across a story about a successful community event at The Hideout, a bar in Chicago, that invited customers to share soup and day-old bread at the bar on a slow business day. The event grew and a few of the enthusiasts published a cookbook about their success. I just loved the idea and decided to organize our own version to benefit BEDS Plus.
Now in our 8th year, our Soup & Bread event is smashing success, raising over $90,000 for our emergency shelter program! It's not just about raising money however; it's about building and growing our community. Together we celebrate our shared vision of a supportive, vibrant community that counts taking care of the vulnerable as essential.
This year our event was held on Sunday, Jan. 26 at the Holiday Inn William Tell Banquets in Countryside. More than 30 local businesses and organizations sponsored the event, including title sponsors Nucor Tubular Products of southwest Chicago and Linda Sokol Francis of Brookfield Financial Plans. Other sponsors included Rockpile Strategies; The Chicago Community Trust; FNBC Bank & Trust; S. Rosen's Baking Company; C.J. Erickson Plumbing Co.; Kiran Bavikatte Foundation; Lightengale Group; Silbrico; FT Cares Foundation; CenterPoint; Hinsdale Bank & Trust Company; Home Helpers; North American Data Centers; O-Cedar; Patzik, Frank & Samotny; PurePoint Financial; Valentine, Austriaco & Bueschel; Integrated Electric; All Information Services, American Family Insurance - Philip Wagler Agency; Berkshire Hathaway Home Services; Lyons Township Mental Health Commission; S. Wolf & Associates; Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council LMCC Trust; Oak Lawn Toyota; Flamingo Club employee group at Freeman McCook; CP Auto in Worth; Sages/Leo Burnett; and Jim & Pam Boblick.
Twenty-seven local restaurants, breweries and vendors contributed food and drink to the cozy, family-friendly gathering. Vendors featured at the event included Barrel House Social, Black Oak Tavern, Blue Nose Brewery, BuckleDown Brewing, Capri Ristorante, Capri Lounge & Grill, Cooper's Hawk Winery, Irish Times, Kama Bistro, Kinslagher Brewing Company, La Buona Vita, Lunar Brewing Co., Mary's Morning Mix-Up, Mon Ami Gabi, Olive Garden, Page's Restaurant, Palmer Place, Posto 31, Prasino, Saban's Place, Salerno's, Steak + Vine, Texas Roadhouse, Woow Sushi, S. Rosen's Baking Company, Eli's Cheesecake, Nothing Bundt Cake, Pete's Fresh Market of Bridgeview and Prestige Wine & Spirits of Westmont.
Entertainment included live music from Honee Brown, Michael McInerney, Crows of Furey and The Pigs. Former WGN Radio host Wendy Snyder served as special guest emcee. American Family Insurance - Philip Wagler Agency sponsored this year's family raffle.
BEDS Plus provides supportive services and housing to the homeless and those at imminent risk of homelessness. BEDS works with the poor, disabled, displaced and the sick. Our services connect clients with the resources they need to stabilize their lives. BEDS manages more than 100 units of supportive housing, provides more than $300,000 in rental and utility assistance annually and organizes 10 months of emergency overnight shelter within two community areas. These interventions serve about 1,200 clients each year, helping to make our communities not only stronger but also a safer place to call home.
Proceeds from the annual Soup & Bread event supports the emergency response program, which includes 17 shelters in 10 local municipalities, salaries of professional case managers, two daytime support centers and basic client needs. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the BEDS Plus emergency overnight shelters will provide 15,000 nights of shelter to 350 men, women and children this season.
Consider joining us next year on January 31, 2021 for our 9th annual event and signing up for a shift at the emergency shelter this year.
Thank you for your support!