Now in its fourth year, the event has served as a fundraiser for maintenance to the church and its adjacent buildings. Past soup dinners, as well as Italian dinners at the school, have raised money for new roofs on the church, school, and parsonage, as well as new coats of paint. This year the fellowship of the church is eyeing repairs to the church’s driveway.
The fundraiser is also used to raise money for needy families in the community, and all leftover soup is delivered to senior citizens in the area by event organizers.
Event organizer Mary Lou LaPlante says that in past years, the women of the church have made up to 15 different kinds of soup for the event. This year LaPlante says there may be even more, including lobster bisque. “We came up with this four years ago, and the people absolutely loved it and asked us to do it again,” said LaPlante.
All who attend are supplied with a bowl and a spoon, and are allowed to try as many types, and as much soup as they please. Last year, one man set an event record, slurping up 11 bowls of soup.
Not only is this a fundraiser for the church and the surrounding community, LaPlante said it is a chance for people to get together in the tradition of Vermont community. “It’s a gathering, it’s a fellowship, and the fellowship is unbelievable. People come together that have not seen each other for a period of time and they sit and feel like it’s their kitchen. My mother always said that Vermont is the old style, where everyone helps each other, and they’re always cooking. The kitchens always smell good here.”
In past years, the event has garnered a large attendance. Last year saw over 100 soup enthusiasts show up, with some large families stopping by to support the community.
Jacksonville General Store supplies French bread dough, which is baked on-site for the event.
The Jacksonville Community Church’s Sunday school is near the corner of route 100 and 112 in Jacksonville. The dinner is $8 for adults and $3 for children under 10.