More than soup and bread

Campus tradition gives back

Story by Courtney Kueppers, Copy Editor

Since 1995, Soup and Bread Night has been a UW-Eau Claire Blugold Dining tradition.

Kathy Binder, marketing manager at Blugold Dining, said their hope is to raise not only money, but also awareness.

The student-run initiative benefits local food bank Feed My People and will take place from 4 p.m. to midnight Feb. 26 in Riverview Cafe for the 19th consecutive year.

The event replaces the usual dinner options in the cafe with nothing but soup, bread and beverages for the evening. Volunteers from the Blugold Dining Committee and various student organizations serve the meal which allows all savings in labor and food costs to be donated to Feed My People.

“This problem hits close to home for us here in the Chippewa Valley,” Binder said. “(The event) is to create awareness of people that locally need assistance and to support Feed My People.”

Since the event began, Soup and Bread Night has raised more than $17,000 for Feed My People. This year’s goal is set at $2,000 with hopes of serving 4,000 or more people.

Emily Moore, executive director at Feed My People, said while the food bank is very appreciative of all donations, cash contributions can be especially helpful to the community.

“The students have done some really great food drives and we certainly appreciate that, but when the donation comes in the form of money, we can get about ten times as much food,” Moore said.

Feed My People has access to a number of donations, and can distribute food donated by food suppliers, which they can buy at a much lower cost than the retail value Moore said.

Since the event began on campus, it has seen a wide range of reactions from students, Binder said.

The event was better received by students when campus had two cafeterias, but since the elimination of the lower campus cafeteria there has been more push back from meal plan holders, Binder said.

Due to some resistance of the limited dinner options, Binder said Blugold dining does its best to give students plenty of notice so they can make alternate plans.

Sophomore Danny Otis said he appreciates the advance notice of the event since it allows students to plan accordingly at lunch.

“If you weren’t expecting it maybe you would be a little upset, but I think if you know in advance it is fine,” Otis said.

Otis attended Soup and Bread Night last year and said he thinks it is a positive thing for the campus.

“I didn’t think it was too bad since they had a lot of options of soup,” Otis said. “I really like chili, but if they didn’t have an option I liked it would have been more difficult.”

Otis said since the event helps people in need he didn’t mind forgoing other food options for one night.

In the past, the Blugold Dining Committee has invited a representative from Feed My People to a committee meeting following the event, which Binder said helps add value to the event.

“(Feed My People) has been very appreciative,” Binder said. “When we have a representative come to the dining committee meeting to present the check that is helpful to see what a difference it is making. It really puts it into perspective.”