Eating Soup Gives Back

JEREMY PARK

Last week, we discussed ways you can partner with Memphis Recovery Centers, which is helping adolescents and adults fight drug and alcohol addiction. This week let us grab a spoon and learn how eating soup Feb. 27 can benefit a local nonprofit dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully.

The 22nd Annual Youth Villages Soup Sunday takes place at FedExForum Sunday, Feb. 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This huge community event is always a hit with our team at Lipscomb & Pitts and has become a Park family tradition. If you are looking for a unique experience and a fun way to taste-test an almost endless array of soups, specialty items, fresh breads, and decadent desserts, then Soup Sunday is definitely your ticket.

Nearly 70 Memphis-area restaurants will showcase house specialties at the event. Returning crowd favorites include The Half Shell with its Soup Sunday-award-winning lobster and shrimp bruschetta and the Flying Saucer offering its beer cheese soup. Other returning restaurants include Paula Deen Buffet, Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, Itta Bena, B.B. King’s, Central BBQ and Huey’s. New eateries include Patrick’s, Sweet Grass, Swanky’s Taco Shop and The American Café.

The Kids’ Zone will include bouncing inflatables, face painting, clowns, and the popular Oreo-stacking contests with prizes for children up to age 12. Sheldon of the Memphis RiverKings and Rocky of the Memphis Redbirds will also make appearances. Attendees can have free family pictures taken and printed at the event, as well.

Tickets are available at www.soupsunday.org and at the door. Tickets for people age 11 and up are $20 at the door ($15 online) and tickets for children, ages 5-10, are $10 ($5 online). Proceeds benefit Youth Villages’ mentoring, transitional living and spiritual life programs.

Youth Villages is a private nonprofit that has been nationally recognized for its programs and services by Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report. The White House identified it as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Youth Villages provides a fully integrated continuum of counseling services and programs, including intensive in-home services, residential treatment, foster care and adoption, transitional living services, mentoring and crisis services. Part of its key is the tenet that therapy for children should be provided in the least restrictive setting possible, preferably in their own homes.

Youth Villages offers numerous ways to get engaged and volunteer. You can work at a Youth Villages event, like Soup Sunday, or adopt a cottage at one of their residential campuses and visit the children weekly or monthly. You can teach job and interview skills, recruit foster parents, tutor or offer spiritual guidance. I encourage you to visit their website, www.youthvillages.org. There, you can learn more about volunteer opportunities and how you can easily help make a difference.

Jeremy Park, director of communications at Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance and director of the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at jeremyp@lpinsurance.com.