I’m going to be running my first marathon this fall in Detroit. This has been a dream of mine since running the Riverbank Run 25k in Grand Rapids in 2011.
Running this marathon in Detroit has personal significance for me. Detroit is a city of resilience, creativity, and tremendous strength and I couldn’t be more proud to be running in this one-of-a-kind, unique place.
While a lot of people like the “branding” of Detroit and the toughness associated with it, I don’t make the reference for self-aggrandizement. Detroit has inspired me in a very specific, significant way through a local organization, Detroit SOUP, which has changed my thinking about what it means to participate in community.
SOUP is simple: It’s a monthly gathering where several members of the community get the opportunity to present a project that in some way will benefit the city. It could be anything. It could be a theatre company or a farmers’ market or a dance company for low-income kids or a project to teach kids about gardening and healthy eating. Attendees donate $5 the night of the event and in return receive a vote for the project of their choice as well as a bowl of soup, bread, and salad which are all available free-of-cost. At the end of the night, the project with the most votes wins and takes home the money raised.
The action is democratic, immediate, and community-rooted.
Having heard so much about Detroit SOUP and the amazing things that they do, I was ecstatic when I saw a poster for something called SoupGrant right here in Lansing! SoupGrant Lansing is based on the same model as Detroit SOUP. I joined the SoupGrant team, and I’m proud to say we are a small, passionate, hard-working team! None of us does this for a living. We are just volunteers who love our city and are committed to bringing people together from every corner of it.
As I prepare to run the Detroit Marathon, I’m running for more than myself.The SoupGrant team is focused on continuing to promote positive growth in Lansing through SoupGrant. Would you be willing to sponsor my run in support of SoupGrant Lansing? Your money would be well spent, as SoupGrant has made a great impact in just one year! Here is just a snapshot:
- Over $1000 raised for community projects in and around Lansing – click here to read more about past winners
- 10 backpack kits donated by our Soup Family to Advent House for homeless folks in need of basic necessities – click here to read more on how they have been used
- $150 awarded to a local designer who made over our logo for us
- Thousands of visits to our website from nearly 30 countries; 200 followers onTwitter; 100 fans on Facebook
And that’s just scratching the surface. Much of what we do is difficult to quantify since SoupGrant Lansing is an organization grounded in building relationships. We have made some wonderful connections in our first year in Lansing and we’re slowly growing the “Soup Family.”
While our monthly SoupGrants have been relatively small in size (generally around $100, though we have raised as much as $260 in a single night), we believe that we are laying the groundwork for a long-term, sustainable project that will stimulate entrepreneurship, heighten awareness of issues facing different parts of our community, and encourage community engagement.
This is why we need your help! Since SoupGrant isn’t our “job,” we can’t go out into the community all day to talk about it with folks. Moreover, much of what we do comes out of pocket. Besides giving of our time, we have paid out-of-pocket for printing, advertising, and soup supplies. By giving to SoupGrant, you are giving back to the Lansing community by broadening our scope and strengthening our ties as we provide and promote a forum for creative projects and partnerships in our community.
The SOUP model is truly unique and something we hope that you will come to experience for yourself – whether in Lansing, Detroit, or elsewhere. The movement is spreading one bowl of soup at a time.