SOUPer Bowl IV opened to a packed crowd at Nease High School on Jan. 31.
In its fourth year, the fundraising event has managed to bring the community together, support a good cause and give a taste of the area’s best restaurants — all while being organized by some tenacious high school students.
This year’s event managed to raise “well over $30,000,” according to Amrita Bhargava, one of the event’s coordinators. The money raised will support the Blessings in a Backpack program in St. Johns County for students on free and reduced-price lunches. The program aims to support students who don’t have access to nutritious meals during the weekends.
The “People’s Choice” soup award was presented to St. Johns Technical High School, and was accepted by Chef Sherry Gaynor, the culinary instructor for the school. The soup featured was a chicken tortilla soup. Also served was a vegetarian jackfruit version.
The award for best soup was presented to St. Johns Technical High School by last year’s “People’s Choice” winner, Chef David Cressler, from the Sawgrass Country Club.
In addition, Valley Ridge Academy won the “Be the Change” competition, which was a coin collection competition aimed at raising money for the event and the Blessings in a Backpack program.
Every year, the SOUPer Bowl also offers commemorative bowls created by students for participants to enjoy. The bowls are donated to the event by Bartram Trail High School, Creekside High School, Nease High School, Palencia Elementary, The Webster School, PVPV/Rawlings Elementary, St. Johns Technical High School, Valley Ridge Academy and Wards Creek Elementary. Along with the “bowl” theme, Wild Ginger Pottery was at the event to demonstrate pottery throwing in action.