An intoxicating aroma of 20 different soups filled the American Legion Post 168 hall Saturday, April 14, as part of the Cannon Beach Food Pantry’s first-ever fundraiser “Soup for the Soul.”

Five local restaurateurs and 15 home chefs cooked up their best homemade soups for more than 200 people in the community and a set of “anonymous, mystery judges” to taste and judge. Between the $5 tasting fee and a silent auction filled with more than 100 items, the Cannon Beach Food Pantry raised more than $9,000 that will go to buying more food and supplies – $4,000 more than their target fundraising goal.

Inspiration for the fundraiser came in response to a need to keep up with growing demand, said board member and event organizer Krista Tye.

“This community used to feed about 30 people a week. Now it’s more like 200 people a week we feed,” Tye said.

The board decided on a soup cook-off because of how easily shareable soup is, Tye said, as well as the fact it is the perfect food to “hunker down and eat” on the cold, rainy days that often happen through the spring on the North Coast.

Chelsea Donoghue was one of the many community members who threw her soup into the competition. Donoghue, a Seaside resident, was a regular food bank customer when she first moved to Clatsop County five years ago. As an homage to that period of her life, she decided to make her lentil soup solely out of ingredients from the food pantry.

“I wanted to show how you can make excellent food from the ingredients they provide here,” she said. “It’s how I fed my family.”

For now, the need will outweigh how much the food pantry can provide. But Tye is hoping the fundraiser helps make a dent.

“If people are fed, than everything else works,” Tye said.

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