From left, Matt Meschede, Chef Wan Kim, Dunning's Market owner Maureen Mader, Dunning's Market assistant manager Paris Peebles, CFFEIM founder and executive director Ann Jackson and Dunning's Market staff member Sydney Gammon at Soup for the Soul. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
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Nearly 200 community members attend Soup for the Soul

From left, Matt Meschede, Chef Wan Kim, Dunning's Market owner Maureen Mader, Dunning's Market assistant manager Paris Peebles, CFFEIM founder and executive director Ann Jackson and Dunning's Market staff member Sydney Gammon at Soup for the Soul. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
From left, Matt Meschede, Chef Wan Kim, Dunning’s Market owner Maureen Mader, Dunning’s Market assistant manager Paris Peebles, CFFEIM founder and executive director Ann Jackson and Dunning’s Market staff member Sydney Gammon at Soup for the Soul. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

The Flossmoor Community House was jam-packed with a dinner-time crowd for Soup for the Soul on Monday, Feb. 19. All proceeds raised at the event were donated to the Center for Food Equity in Medicine (CFFEIM), a nonprofit organization that provides nutritional support to families dealing with cancer and other life-altering health conditions. 

Community members at Soup for the Soul taste-tested over a dozen soups from about 10 different chefs. The event was organized by Maureen Mader, president of the Flossmoor Business Association and owner of Dunning’s Market & Deli in downtown Flossmoor, in collaboration with the CFFEIM.

Tickets to the event were $25 apiece. For an additional fee, guests could purchase beverages, as well as a quart of their favorite soup to take home.

Ann Jackson, founder and executive director of the CFFEIM, estimated that about 175 people attended Soup for the Soul throughout the evening. She said the event raised about $5,500.

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“We’re very pleased with the turnout. At one point, there were probably about 150 people in this room,” Mader said.

Soup for the Soul’s restaurant chefs came from The Barrel Club in Oak Lawn, Bistro on Sterling in Flossmoor, Dunning’s Market, Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery, Kimski in Chicago and Lassen’s Tap in Homewood. Celebrity chef Jerome Brown, Karyn’s Inner Beauty owner Karyn Calabrese, Stir Crazy Soups owner Sarah Kaleta and private and corporate chef Karla M. Quezada also prepared soups for the event.

Homewood resident Brenden Leahy, an executive chef at The Barrel Club, served chicken tortilla soup.

“I intentionally made a soup that was not going to be something everybody was very familiar with,” Leahy said.

Chef Chris Ball served Flossmoor Station’s white bean chicken chili soup. He said he enjoyed seeing that people “wanted to do good in their own community” at Soup for the Soul.

“It’s nice to see people happy and excited to try different soups,” CFFEIM board member Quezada said.

Calabrese said she was “so happy to be a part of this event and provide people some vegan, plant-based food.”

Soup samples, about a ladle full, were served in small paper cups. Chefs and vendors offered seconds if an attendee came back for more. 

Stuart Washington, who attended Soup for the Soul with his wife, said he felt sleepy and very full after trying only seven of the soups. 

In addition to soups, Dunning’s Market provided free samples of open-face grilled cheese for attendees to dunk into any soup of their choosing. The CFFEIM provided pieces of bread. 

Craft beers from Flossmoor Station and wine from Dunning’s Market were sold at the bar. Sound engineer Todd VanBuren was the DJ.

The event started at 5 p.m., and by 7 p.m. Bistro on Sterling sold out of all of its soup and Dunning’s Market sold out of its roasted tomato soup. Any unsold soup at the end of the night was donated to the CFFEIM.

“The soups that weren’t shared will be frozen and shared with families during grocery deliveries next month,” Jackson said.

Mader said she hopes Soup for the Soul can become an annual event that grows in size.

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