Soup’s On holds benefit
POLSON — The teepee-sleepers at the Wander Inn in Polson have upped the ante this year.
”We aren’t coming out until we’ve raised $20,000,” said Sandy Farrell, an event director and sleeper. In the past three years, the group has set their goal at $10,000.
This is the fourth year that Dick Bratton of Alpine Tipis and Windsocks has set up a teepee, and people have enjoyed nights in the canvas shelter, warmed by an antique woodburning stove, sleeping bags and the occasional dog.
With fickle February and March weather, sleeping in the teepee on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Fourth Street can be cold, but not as cold as last year when snow piled up around the teepee and lots of blankets were needed.
Farrell said this year there are cots in the teepee and a vapor barrier on the floor. For the vapor barrier, tarps on the ground help keep it warmer, instead of skins or furs used in the original teepees.
The event started in 2009 to fund Soup’s On, an eatery where locals can go for a lunch of hot soup and bread regardless of whether or not they can pay. Soup’s On is kept in business by donations of food, labor and cash, and proceeds of the annual Winterfest celebration.
Soup’s On is housed in the Wander Inn and both are under the umbrella of the Interfaith Council on Poverty.
Activities, such as bingo on Feb. 20, karaoke with Lorelei on Feb. 21, and the family table dinner on Feb. 22 — complete with a campfire and s’mores for dessert — rounded out the week.
Journey Be, a church pastored by Reverend John Payne, is in the same structure. Involved in all three enterprises, Payne said Soup’s On has served more than 42,000 lunches in its four years.
This year, funds raised will go towards a homeless shelter, Farrell said. The second floor of the Wander Inn provides transitional housing for a few men, but renovations and remodeling, such as a new bathroom and additional walls, are needed. There is a need for space for women and children.
Donations were accepted at the teepee, but also at Winterfest, held on Feb. 23. About 205 people bought $10 tickets to get into the Mission Valley Elks Club for a silent and live auction, a pork dinner prepared by Guy Hill, chef at the Old World Deli, and entertainment by Rob Quist and his daughter, Halladay, at 8 p.m.
Auction director Alice Erb said she was pleased by the amount and array of donations. Everything from artwork to clothing items to baked goods was available, as well as a 50/50 drawing, which brought in $288.