It was well after the last bell of the day, but Southington High School's cafeteria was bustling on Wednesday evening, with bowls of soup being passed around with bread, cider and desserts.
The annual Community Soup Night, hosted by Bread for Life with the help of volunteers from all walks of life, proved a success once again and helped draw the largest crowd to date with hundreds of participants shelling out a few dollars and a canned good for a meal, with all proceeds going to help feed those in need.
"This has grown into our biggest fundraiser of the year and when you look around, we just can't say thank you enough to the community," said Bread for Life Executive Director Eldon Hafford. "Baseball, basketball, other athletes, the Key Club and all the outside help; it's truly a community celebration."
The event this year received support from 26 restaurants and countless organizations and businesses, Hafford said. But what stood out were the number of students and Southington teenagers spending the evening lending a hand.
Bill McDougall, President of the Bread for Life Board of Directors, said he couldn't help but smile to see all the kids in action.
"They had no obligation, but stepped up to help because these kids wanted to," he said. "There's nothing better."
For those volunteering, it's about giving back and supporting a community that has supported them. Charlie Lembo said his players needed only to be invited and they were willing to do the rest.
The team takes great pride in giving back, he said, and it serves as a great life lesson, team building activity and helps improve the community all at the same time.
"It sends the message that giving back does not take a lot," he said. "We don't have to twist there arm, though. That's the big thing. These kids are here because they want to be."
Take a look back at the annual event with the photo spread above.
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