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New fundraiser aims to fund community projects

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ROCK FALLS – A teacher at Rock Falls High School wants to change her community over a bowl of soup.

Heather Shore, an art teacher and the yearbook adviser, is organizing the first-ever soup group on March 10, to raise money not only for the yearbook, but also for a deserving community project.

The local event is part of a national movement based on a simple recipe: People come together to eat soup. They listen to a few proposals about how local groups might use a portion of the proceeds from the event for a worthwhile project, then vote on the project most deserving of the funds. The top vote-getting group leaves with a little cash, and the people leave full and fulfilled.

Soup groups have bubbled up throughout the country, mostly in large, metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Detroit and Philadelphia. They are catching on in small cities and towns, too.

Shore values the grassroots origins of the soup movement.

“I love the idea that it’s very community centered,” she said. “We’re bridging Rock Falls High School with the community. We want to work with the community and be a part of it in a very symbiotic way.”

People who attend will pay $7 for a bowl of soup, a beverage and four tokens (each valued at $1) to use to vote for local projects.

They will hear presentations from as many as 10 local groups, including school-based initiatives, church groups and community groups, such as the homeless shelter, food pantry or animal shelter. They then will vote, using their tokens, for the most deserving projects; people may give all their tokens to one group or spread their tokens among several groups.

The high school yearbook group will get $3 from every ticket sold, while local groups will get the rest, based on the votes. All projects that receive votes will walk away with some money – whether it’s a few bucks or a few hundred bucks.

Shores hopes the event drums up a sense of community.

“It’s the local people voting, deciding what we need in our community, helping people in our community,” she said.

“So many times, when people give money to something, they don’t really know where it goes. But if it stays local ... it gives them a better feeling; they know exactly where it’s going ... and they have that connection.”

How it works

To make a pitch:

Any groups or organizations in the Sauk Valley that wish to pitch their project for funding to the Rock Falls High School Soup Group Community Project should submit a brief synopsis of it to Heather Shore at shoreh@rfhs301.org by March 5.

Only 10 groups will be allowed to present their projects, which must benefit the local community; groups may not seek money for a national cause.

Groups selected to present may bring as many people as they wish, but all members must buy a ticket to the event. Groups also must supply any visual aids or technology required for their presentations.

To cast your vote:

The pitches will be heard from 5 to 7 p.m. March 10, in the Rock Falls High School cafeteria, 101 12th Ave.

Admission is $7, which includes a bowl of soup and a beverage and four tokens to use to vote for local projects seeking funds.

Tickets are available in advance at the high school office or at the door. Only 220 are available.

Call 815-625-3886 for more information.

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