Soup luncheon raises more than $16,000 for Norfolk food banks

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer


It's not uncommon for a community to support its food banks at Christmastime, what you don't see everywhere is the commitment shown by Norfolk County residents and businesses to do so.

Tuesday marked the annual Holiday Soup Luncheon at the Simcoe Aud presented by the Simcoe Reformer, Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show and Norfolk County.

Upwards of 1,000 people came out to enjoy soups and other fresh items provided by more than 20 Norfolk restaurants/businesses. Admission is by donation and all proceeds go to local food banks. This year's event raised $16,189 bringing the 10-year total for the fundraiser to $163,104.

“It says a lot about a community, it says a lot about our community when you come to something like this and see all the businesses that donate their time, donate their product – very skilled businesses with amazing food,” said Norfolk assistant fire chief Scott Pipe. “To me, that speaks volumes of who we work within Norfolk County.”

As is the case each year, Pipe and members of Norfolk County Fire and Rescue Services, as well as Emergency Medical Services, were on hand helping clear tables. They were joined by county staff and others like Mayor Charlie Luke.

“It's a team builder and you feel good doing something like this,” Pipe added. “You go back to the office and you're happy, it's a bright spot in the day.”

The gathering has become a can't-miss event for the Port Rowan duo of Paul and Pat Hadden. They moved to the area six years ago and haven't missed a luncheon since.

“I love the homemade soups, I love the homemade Christmas cakes, it's all homemade and you can't beat that,” said Paul. “We came down from the big city in Scarborough and they'd never have anything like this up there.”

Each restaurant involved brings a different flavour with them. This year the Erie Beach Hotel – longtime supporters of the event – offered a serving of tomato, sausage, and Parmesan soup which received rave reviews.

“We serve soups every day at the Erie Beach Hotel so we pick our favourites and bring it every year,” said Erie Beach employee Stephanie Grant.

This was Grant's second year representing the popular Port Dover eatery at the luncheon and there was a genuine excitement in her voice when talking about returning.

“It's amazing – it's amazing that the Erie Beach gives back like they do and all of the establishments give back like they do. It just really feels good,” she said.

It's true that the luncheon is a great way to attract customers but Grant said that's not the main reason to attend.

“It's more about helping out the community,” she said.