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Serving up warmth, one soup kit at a time

Since 2015, the The Souper Hero project has helped fundraise and build community by growing, making, packaging and selling healthy, hearty soups

It’s a spoon. It’s a bowl. It’s a hot helping of soothing soup.

The SEED’S 'Souper Hero' project in Guelph comes to the rescue.

Since 2015, the project has helped fundraise and build community by growing ingredients, making, packaging and selling healthy,  hearty soups.

Warm soup soothes the soul, according to Madeline Barber, community engagement coordinator at Guelph Community Health Centre.

“The Souper Hero Project, with the Guelph Community Health Centre, supports food programs and increases access to healthy food,” Barber said.

At first, the project began as an annual seasonal campaign.

Today, Souper Hero products are available year-round. The project is volunteer led and all ingredients are organically grown.

“We have our original soup recipes that volunteers came up with, and we make and sell packs of dry soup starter kits. This includes beautifully layered beans and lentils," Barber said.

Soup mixes cost between $5 and $10 for up to 15 servings.

“The soup is simple and wholesome. It’s very nutritious, healthy and high in fibre,” Barber said.

“The great thing, too, is that you can take the kit, add to it and make it you own. It’s versatile, you can use whatever vegetables you like. It certainly keeps people coming back, year after year.”

Printable recipe cards are included in each kit such as rice-lentil or barley lentil soup, ginger coconut chicken, or a hearty recipe with chicken or beef.

Soup kits can be found at markets, select stores and pop-up events. All proceeds directly support the organization’s programs.

The SEED is a do-it-together food movement, engaging people of all incomes and walks of life, with the aim to connect Guelph-Wellington where everyone has access to healthy food.

Programs include the first 'sliding-scale' online grocery store in Canada, 'good food' distribution to partner organizations and schools every week, Helldale Farm Park, which grows food and helps build food security and community, and the SEED Upcycle Kitchener that helps increase food access and employs out-of-work youth.

The SEED also has productive partnerships with other agencies including Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, Hope House, City of Guelph, the Salvation Army and North End Harvest Market.

People can support the Souper Hero project by volunteering, purchasing soup at The SEED online store or at a retail store partner. Groups or schools can also co-fundraise.

“This is all led by volunteers. We have such a great team. We currently have about fifteen volunteers who regularly package, sell and distribute the soup.” Barber said.

“As well as selling soups kits at the online store, and at a few select stores, we sell soup kits at craft shows and markets, especially during the holiday season, in November and December."

Barber says co-fundraising with schools and teams in the community not only helps raise funds for programs, but supports the community in accessing fresh food.

The Souper Hero project has raised well over $100,000 since it first began.

“This is something different as compared to a standard chocolate bar fundraiser,” Barber said.  

“It a win-win-win for the school, for the community and for us at The Seed.”

Barber says the Souper Hero project offers another way to engage and feed the community.  

“The primary goal is outreach as well as fundraising. It’s about getting the word out there as much as we can about our Souper Hero program,” Barber said.

“This is a great way for people to hear about The SEED.”

Volunteers with the Souper Hero project have also recently collaborated with the Seed’s Upcycle Kitchen, and are selling soup already made and frozen.

For anyone wanting to try soup ready made, they can buy it at The SEED’s online store.  

“People love the soup. It really is delicious,” Barber said. “Soup just makes you feel good.”

For more information about the SEED’s Souper Hero program, visit here.