Chicken Soup for the Soul is a widely recognized book title. Soup for the Soul, the annual fundraiser for Centura’s Porter Hospice, St. Anthony Hospice and The Butterfly Program, brings that title to life, as it connects its guests with signature soups from Denver’s most acclaimed restaurants. It’s a nourishing night for many that goes far in feeding a worthy cause.
Kathie Repola, President and Chief Development Officer for Centura Health at Home Foundation, shared that there is a waiting list of restaurants that want to participate in the annual event. Those showcasing their soup-sational creations this year included 15|Fifty at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Barolo Grill, Bistro Vendome, Bluepoint Bakery, Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge, Elway’s Cherry Creek, Euclid Hall, Fruition, Guard and Grace, Linger, LoHi SteakBar, Los Chingones, Manna Restaurant, Nothing Bundt Cakes, P.F. Chang’s China, Bistro Rioja, Panera Bread, Root Down, Solitaire, Squeaky Bean, Sugarmill, TAG | RAW BAR, TAG Burger Bar, Twelve Restaurant, TAG, The Kitchen Denver, and The Oceanaire Seafood Room.
“You come out of here full,” said Carlos De La Rosa, who confessed he would try about 10 different soups. And that’s a hearty undertaking, as each restaurant ladled cups of warmth that called for multiple dips of the spoon. “Mmmmmm” was the common response across the crowd of 700.
The beautifully presented soups included Thai Carrot Curry, Portuguese Kale and Potato, Foraged Mushroom Bisque, along with Black Bean Steak Chili, Chinese Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and Posole, among others. On the side, guests could try signature melt-in-your mouth appetizers such as Linguisa Sausage and Peppers with Piri Piri sauce, Shrimp Ceviche, Chicken and Garlic Skewers or Miso Sesame Deviled Eggs. Solitaire, a restaurant on its way to joining Denver’s dining scene, served appetizers in the silent auction area. The delectably different and delicious Solitaire Tombo included Masago caviar and red albacore tuna.
“I’ve never come across anything that isn’t good,” said 14-year Soup supporter Bill Schneider.
An energetic and endearing Erin Denholm, CEO of Centura Health at Home, graciously thanked the guests for choosing to spend their evening supporting Centura’s hospice care. “As a faith-based organization we show up for something much more than the bottom line. Your presence here makes a tremendous difference.”
She also generated big applause for the Downtown Denver Sheraton, home to the event for several years now. “We can’t say enough thanks and gratitude to the Sheraton. The fact they allow all these restaurants to come in is nothing short of miraculous.”
Each year the event recognizes someone who, through adversity, shows enormous courage. The 2014 Award of Courage winner was retired Marine Sgt. Jon Lujan, who was severely injured while serving in Iraq. But, Sgt. Lujan couldn’t make the event because he was providing further inspiration as a competitor in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. In addition, he was selected by fellow Team USA athletes to be the flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony for the games.
Panera Bread Co. did their part for an entire month. In February, Panera stores across Colorado donated 25 cents to Soup for the Soul for every bread bowl sold. More than 24,000 bowls purchased generated $6,000 additional funds for the event. That was on top of a numerous local businesses, artists and individuals who contributed to the silent auction. Table after table stocked with lovely things beckoned bidders before dinner.
For over twenty-five years, thousands of patients and family members have had their lives enriched by Porter Hospice and St. Anthony Hospice programs. The organization’s team of nurses, aides, social workers, non-denominational chaplains, bereavement staff and volunteers concentrate on making sure patients are free of pain and able to make the most of the time that remains. Porter Hospice and St. Anthony Hospice deeply believe everyone in the community deserves to face the end of life’s journey with dignity and respect, regardless of their ability to pay.
The Butterfly Program sponsored by Porter Hospice and Children’s Hospital Colorado, fills an important and relatively empty niche in the Denver metropolitan community. This nationally recognized program serves families with children who have been diagnosed with a serious illness. The Butterfly Program offers pediatric palliative and comfort care, either at home or in the hospital. These comprehensive services are provided to any child with a serious illness regardless of the current goals of their care, the setting within which the care is provided, or the families’ ability to pay for services.
Soup for the Soul is special. It’s about comfort food coming from a community of restaurants who give their best to a community of caring people who come together for a cause that connects us all.