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Church shows Souper effort in Boonsboro

February 02, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - There was no coin flip, no halftime show, no talk of what the best commercial was and no game-winning drive at Mt. Nebo United Methodist Church on Sunday.

Still, the church's Souper Bowl luncheon drew more than 100 people, who downed bowls of crab and potato soup, among other varieties, for charity.

The event helped the church raise more than $350 for the St. Andrew Potato Project, which provides food for the needy throughout the United States. Other events, including a potato bar and a golf tournament, also help the church raise its $1,500 annual goal for the charity, said Chris McClain, a Mt. Nebo member for 20 years and the creator of the Mexican enchilada soup.

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"I try to do the spicy stuff. You get heartburn from it," McClain said with a wide grin.

McClain declined to talk about his recipes for his off-the-wall soups, including his artichoke- and peanut butter-based concoctions, saying they were a secret.

There were seven varieties of homemade soup Sunday - potato, crab, tomato, Mexican enchilada, chicken vegetable, creamy chicken with rice, and ham and bean. Rob Wetzel, lay leader at Mt. Nebo, said the potato and crab soups were the crowd's favorites, and were the first two varieties to run out.

Organizers also provided peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the children in attendance and a large assortment of rich desserts.

"We have lots of good bakers," said Wetzel, a church member for 43 years. "There's a ton of stuff out there."

The Society of St. Andrew started the nationwide Potato Project about 25 years ago, according to the group's Web site. Volunteers pick the potatoes, ones that are rejected because of reasons including small size or odd shape, the Web site said.

Through the Potato Project, the Society of St. Andrew has distributed more than 355 million pounds of food to soup kitchens, Native American reservations, food pantries, low-income housing areas, local churches and other hunger agencies in 48 states and the District of Columbia, the Web site said.

"It's a tremendous program," said Bob Brennan, pastor at Mt. Nebo. "It gets potatoes to low-income families at the lowest cost. The only cost is transportation."

Brennan and several other church members said good food and fellowship make it worth coming every year.

"We've been coming 11 or 12 years," said Charlie Blair, who attended with his wife, Sabrina, and daughter, Chiara. "It's a way for all to come together. More people come to this than any other occasion outside of church (services)."

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