The annual mission to bring smiles and cheer to less fortunate children begins Tuesday with one of the Goodfellows Club's most anticipated traditions -- Soup Day for Kids.
The public event, which is catered by more than 20 restaurants, bakeries and food services, begins at 11 a.m. at Settle Memorial Church Renewal and Outreach Center and runs until 1 p.m.
Soup Day generates between $5,000 to $8,000 in those two hours that go toward the Goodfellows' cause.
The Goodfellows Club is a 103-year-old charity that provides clothing, shoes, coats and emergency dental and medical care -- year-round -- for children in need. And 100% of the money raised each year goes to help children; there are no administrative fees.
Goodfellows board members Mary Beth Hurley and Sally Wood have been working to pull together the annual event that signals the start of the holiday campaign drive.
"It is our kick-off to the season," Hurley said. "And it is so important to the children of Owensboro and Daviess County."
Hurley added that a wide variety of soups from chili to clam chowder will be offered along with breads and desserts.
"We'll have a lot of good comfort soups and the restaurants will serve their famous one or their best one that they're known for," Hurley said. "We just appreciate the generosity of the restaurants and the bakeries."
During the month-long campaign, donations come from private citizens, businesses, churches and area schools. Donations can also be made through the charity's website -- goodfellowsclubofowensboro.org.
"For years and years, I have watched kids get so excited about getting new school clothes -- clothes that fit them and clothes they can be proud of so they can do their best in school," Hurley said.
As part of the campaign drive, the Messenger-Inquirer also publishes the daily roll call of the donations as well as Goodfellows stories about those in the community who come up with creative fundraisers to support the campaign. Those stories will begin on Thanksgiving Day.
A deep respect for the work the Goodfellows Club does in the community -- and for those who make it happen -- is ingrained in the fabric of the Messenger-Inquirer, Executive Editor Matt Francis said.
"We look forward to the roll call stories each year," Francis said. "It allows us to play a part in helping one of the most significant charities in our community, and even more important, helping children and families in need. But it also allows us to further our core mission, which is informing the community about local needs and issues, and telling the stories of those who make a difference every day."
During the 2018 campaign, the roll call generated $142,000.42.
A $10 donation is requested for the all-you-can-eat soups.
Hurley said cold temperatures are expected for the kick-off day, making it ideal for warm soup.
"It's always an enjoyable day and I know, from all the years I've volunteered, that I see people there at Soup Day that I don't see at other places the rest of the year," Hurley said. "…We're very fortunate to have the community behind us."
Don Wilkins, firstname.lastname@example.org, 270-691-7299