After a year of hurdles, heaps more people needing their services and extra helpings of challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank was looking forward to a return to normal.
The food bank’s annual Soup Supper and Auction, scheduled for Saturday, was supposed to be held as usual — in person, with live and silent auctions, with everyone in attendance getting a hand-made pottery bowl and something delicious to put in it.
But COVID isn’t done throwing curve balls. With case numbers spiking on the Kenai Peninsula, the food bank’s board of directors made the call this week to cancel the in-person event and shift to a virtual model this year.
Amy Van De Grift is the bookkeeper at the food bank and one of many hands helping to launch the virtual event tomorrow.
“Let’s just say, you know, 2020 prepared us. So, our staff has been amazing and has handled these last-minute things and we are just fighting to do what we have to do in order to get where we need to be,” Van De Grift said.
The soup supper is the food bank’s biggest fundraiser for the year and 2021 was to be the silver anniversary of the popular event. Now, the food bank is hoping for a silver lining in going virtual. Tickets often sell out when the event is held in person. But with the virtual approach, anyone can participate.
“Normally and in order to be a participant of the silent auction you have to buy your Soup Supper ticket,” Van De Grift said. “But this year, the way we set it up, everybody in the community is open to going onto this website, creating an account for free and they can start bidding on the silent auction items.”
Bidding is open now on the silent auction items. And anyone with internet and an inclination to support the food bank can tune in on Facebook live at 6 p.m. Saturday to participate in the live auction.
There’s plenty of ways to spend some money. They’ve got a halibut charter trip, plane tickets, Alaska Railroad tickets — go to the food bank’s website, kpfoodbank.org, to see the list of all the auction items. Silent auction items are available for bidding now and the live auction will be held during the virtual event at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
“And then best of all — well, not best of all because they’re all great, we’re going to be bidding off (food bank) chef Steven for a dinner at homer for up to four,” Van De Grift said.
Winners will also be drawn tomorrow in raffles for a four-wheeler and Alaska Airline tickets. Those will be sold up until the auction. Call the food bank at 262-3111 starting tomorrow morning or stop by tomorrow after 2 p.m. to purchase raffle tickets and soup supper tickets. Soup supper tickets might not get you soup this year but they still get you a hand-made bowl.
“Our potter ladies did donate a ton of beautiful pottery. You can come in and pick out a beautiful bowl,” Van De Grift said.
Van De Grift said all food bank services are still being provided, even with the spike in COVID cases. Lunch in the Fireweed Diner is only for take-out at the time being and food bank clients are asked to mask up when picking up food boxes.
For more information on tomorrow’s Soup Supper virtual event, visit kpfoodbank.org.