WARREN - An urban farm cooperative and a mobility-challenged support group shared their purposes and goals during the inaugural Warren SOUP event hosted by Earth Angel Farm.
The event was held at the Wean Foundation Building, where Amy Kaherl, director of Detroit SOUP, shared her story of how guests at the Detroit version of the event pay to have soup, salad and bread, and then listen to requests from people involved with various projects that are in need of money.
The money raised from the event is given to the organization chosen by those in attendance.
Warren held a similar event and heard from two groups seeking funds.
While enjoying a community meal, patrons listened to presentations and then voted on the presentation they deemed most worthy. That group was then given the evening's proceeds as seed money for their project.
"I was impressed by this. They were able to get more people to come together than we had for our first soup event. This is the most people than we had at our first event in Detroit,'' Kaherl said.
Dr. Holly Maggiano with Earth Angel Farm said the Warren event had 100 participants who heard two presentations and then cast their vote.
"Any time you can get people together like this is important,'' she said.
Earth Angel Farm is a nonprofit organization which supports individuals with physical and development disabilities through employment, education and socialization in an agricultural setting.
Kaherl said Detroit SOUP has recently been honored as a ''White House Champion of Change'' for its crowdfunding efforts and has been featured in newspapers, publications and on television's NBC Nightly News.
Detroit SOUP was founded in 2001, inspired by Incubate, a research group that started the idea in a neighborhood in Chicago.
Kaherl said events can include a collaborative situation, a public dinner, a platform for connection, or a democratic experiment in micro-funding bringing various communities together.
She said Detroit SOUP averages about 225 people at dinner, with more than $25,000 going back into the participants to get their ideas to the next level.
"It is hopeful that the Warren area will benefit from this inspiration,'' Kaherl said.
Presentations at the Warren event were made by the Mahoning Valley Mobility Challenged Support Group, which wants to produce public awareness announcements for television that show challenges faced by individuals in wheelchairs in public parking spaces. The group is seeking funds for the public awareness campaign.
Urban Farm Cooperative, which was selected by the patrons, wants to operate an urban farm cooperative and with the help of individuals with disabilities. The project would allow them to create their own business and develop employability skills while improving social skills.
Plans are to use the funds to buy seeds as well as supplies and materials to plant and harvest the seeds. Students from the Trumbull Career and Technical Center would be involved.