By COLIN HARRIS
WARREN - A mobile spay-and-neuter clinic will be coming to downtown Warren, thanks to the Warren SOUP event held Saturday at The Movement in Warren.
Saturday's gathering was the second such micro-granting dinner held by the group, which celebrates and helps to foster creative community projects in the Warren area.
Attendees donate $5, and in exchange for a meal, listen to presentations from four community projects. Then they vote on the presentation they deem most worthy. That group is then given the evening's proceeds as seed money for their project.
"With Warren SOUP, the community is investing in you," Warren SOUP committee member Sheila Calko said. "You're only donating $5, but you feel like you now have a connection to the cause."
Mark Rhodes of the Trumbull K9 Connection gives the presentation for his program during Saturday evening’s Warren SOUP event at The Movement in Warren. Rhodes’ presentation was selected as the winner among four candidates. Photo by Colin Harris
The winning cause on Saturday belonged to Mark Rhodes, who presented on behalf of the Trumbull K9 Connection. Rhodes' proposal was to bring Cleveland-based Operation PetFix to the downtown Warren area to give low-income members of the community an opportunity to have their dogs spayed or neutered.
Rhodes was presented with $575 raised by the roughly 110 attendees.
Calko said that the SOUP organization keeps none of the proceeds from the door, with all of the money raised going to the winning presentation.
Below are the four community projects pitched at Saturday's SOUP?event:
Trumbull K9 Connection: Bringing a mobile dog spay-and-neuter clinic to the downtown Warren area to provide services to low-income families in the area (voted as winner)
Charles Street Neighbors: A community garden project to plant flowers and crops on a plot of land near the downtown area.
Mikeyfied Fund for Adult Autism: A care center in the downtown area for adults with autism.
Northeastern Ohio Miltui-Arts Committee / Warren Inter-faith Community Action Committee: A community wellness and childhood obesity organization operating with the parks and recreation system in Warren.
Proposals for the next Warren SOUP can be sent to Sheila Calko at email@example.com or by calling 330-881-7698. The program is set for 5:30 p.m. May 2 in Warren.
"Two dogs who are not (spayed or neutered) could lead to as many as 67,000 dogs in just seven years," Rhodes said. "Out of the 800 dogs (housed) at the Trumbull County Dog Pound, as many as 250 come from the city of Warren."
Rhodes said that the mobile unit will be able to handle 12 to 15 dogs on the first day, but his organization is working on securing funding and sponsorship for future dates.
Warren SOUP sprouted from Detroit SOUP, which was founded in 2001 from an idea that started in a neighborhood in Chicago.
At Warren SOUP's first event in October 2013, Detroit SOUP Director Amy Kaherl attended the event and shared her story of how the SOUP movement has become a growing success.
"I just shared my story about the process of inviting folks to the table, to get people to think of projects that help diverse sectors of the community," Kaherl said. "I loved sharing our story with the folks who were present at the dinner - about the work we were doing in Detroit and being able to empower others to make the process work in your community as well."
The next Warren SOUP will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 2 at the Mahoning Valley Hope Center in Warren. Proposals for the event can be sent to Calko, who can be reached at sheilatnpwarren.org or 330-881-7698.