On Jan. 24th, the BottleHouse Brewery and Meadery on Lee Road will host the first Soup and Bread Experiment of 2018. The event will be held on Wednesday evening and run from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM or until the soup runs out. The event is free to the public. Donations are requested but not required for the hot meal. Money raised will benefit Reaching Heights, a non-profit that supports Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools.
The Soup and Bread Experiment (SBE) was started seven years ago in Chicago as a ”community meal project and a fun, grassroots way to raise money for hunger-relief organizations and other good causes,” according to the organization’s website. Having been inspired by the SBE in Chicago, Simona Mkrtschjan of Cleveland Heights, launched the the program in Northeast Ohio last year. After the presidential election, Simona recalls,“... feeling isolated and helpless and [needing] to do something wholly positive.” Having eyed the BottleHouse as a possible venue for SBE, due to its large size and civic minded values, Simona set her plan into action last March.
Using the Chicago SBE’s hunger relief model Simona first contacted Mary LaVigne-Butler, Vice President of External Affairs for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. SBE and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank have hosted four successful fundraising events this past past year. “At the most recent event I couldn’t get over the number of people and the atmosphere – so very positive and lively...there were lots of new faces – such a great way to build community!” said Mary when asked about her experience working with SBE. Simona says the best parts about the SBE events are,“meeting my chef neighbors! Each time we run one of these, I have to depend on folks, some of whom I've never met, to show up with gallons of hot soup. And they do! Each time is a trust fall, and each time it works out. It makes me hopeful for civil society.”
At the most recent Soup and Bread fundraiser in November, Krista Hawthorne, Executive Director of Reaching Heights, was so impressed she wanted to stir up a SBE event for her own organization. “The soups were delicious! They ran the gamut from exotic coconut vegan curry to hearty deconstructed stuffed cabbage stew. The drinks available for purchase from the BottleHouse were as exciting as they were warming. The bartender navigated me through the world of meads, sours and bitters to find the perfect accompaniment to my meal. I even squeezed in a game of Pinball at the BottleHouse’s mini arcade. The best part of the evening, however, was the opportunity to break bread with other Heights community members for a good cause.”
To learn more about the Soup and Bread Experiment, check out the upcoming Reaching Heights fundraiser on Jan. 24. Located at the BottleHouse Brewery, 2050 Lee Road, Cleveland, OH 44118.