SKOWHEGAN — Revelers at Friday night’s annual Skowhegan Holiday Stroll parade will be able shake off the chill and warm up to a nice bowl of hot, homemade soup.

Turkey soup and vegetarian soup, along with a slice of homemade bread, will be served up in clay bowls — all made by students at Skowhegan Area Middle School.

The first 90 people to purchase a bowl of soup for $5 get to keep the bowls in an event called “Empty Bowls.” Students will have a booth set up along the parade route on Water Street in downtown. The parade starts at 7 p.m.

“All of the profits that we make — and everything will be profit because everything here was donated — will go to local soup kitchens and food cupboards,” teacher Jennifer Dorman said. “We have many students in our school that frequent the soup kitchen and food cupboard.”

Dorman, the 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year, said all students in the district receive free breakfast and lunch through the Community Eligibility Provision, a federal program that’s administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About 75 percent of students are income-eligible for the assistance, though there are no requirements.

“We’re looking at people we know and what they need and we’re trying to help them,” she said.

The fundraiser came as a result of eighth-grade studies of child labor, in which students were moved by stories of young children working in dangerous conditions. Students agreed to form a group they call the Free the Children We Group to raise money locally to feed children and their families.

“The students unanimously agreed that it was important to help people in their towns before engaging in an activity to benefit children globally,” Dorman said. “The problem of hunger was the first that came to mind.

Eighth-grader Kricket Magee said she and her classmates are excited about helping people in their own community. They were busy Thursday chopping onions, carrots, cabbage, celery, barley and zucchini to add to the soup.

“Some people are less fortunate than us and they have to go to food banks to get food because they don’t have a lot of money,” Kricket said. “Those families that don’t have jobs and don’t have money go through a hard time during the holidays to get food and groceries for their families.”

Dorman said all the money used to buy the ingredients for the soups came from local donors, including the Friends of Rachel club, which arose from an anti-bullying presentation called Rachel’s Challenge at the school in January 2011. Rachel Scott was the first student killed in the Columbine High School shooting massacre in 1999.

The local Hannaford supermarket gave the group a $25 gift card, three turkeys were donated by the Friends of Rachel and a $25 gift card came from the Unum insurance group to cover the cost to make the soups.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow


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