Corn chowder, steak and vegetable soup, chicken corn chowder, chicken noodle soup filled the stomachs of hundreds Thursday evening as they helped to fill the cupboards at the Samaritan Center.
On the last Thursday Night Live event for the season, organizers incorporated Soup Stock, an event that included 13 local restaurants cooking up their finest soup selections, all to benefit the Samaritan Center.
Ben DeFeo, operations manager of the Samaritan Center, said the center is still in need of essential items, and the canned goods and monetary donations from the Soup Stock event will help fill in the ever-widening gaps as the center struggles to feed 4,500 people each month.
"The needs are the same - we need the essentials," DeFeo said.
Joan Fairfax, owner of Chet Monet, began preparing the chicken noodle soup early Thursday. She chose that soup because it is one of the favorites of her customers during the winter months.
"It (the soup choice) is what we do best," she said with a smile.
To sample soups from the 13 participating restaurants, there was a $5 charge with two donated cans of soup or $7 with no can donations.
Dana Carapella, executive chef at Madison's Cafe, said restaurants were asked to prepare four gallons of soup, and servings were thought to be about two ounces each, meaning each restaurant would be providing nearly 300 servings for the event.
"It is for the greater good, a way to give back," Carapella said of preparing the soup for the event.
As the need increases for services from the Samaritan Center and others, events like this are considered staples in helping the organizations meet the needs.
"We are helping more people, and those needs change daily," DeFeo said. "This event alone will enable us to do that."