SANTA FE, N.M. — One of the perks of being a city councilor (in addition to that cherry downtown parallel parking spot in front of City Hall) is that each councilor is given the use of the Santa Fe Convention Center for one nonprofit event a year. Councilor Signe Lindell is passionate about The Food Depot and believes it “gives the community the greatest return on the buck, so how could I not give my turn to The Food Depot?”
Signe proudly says the organization can feed four people on every dollar. Now, if you’re a person who frequents Santa Fe’s fine dining establishments, what could you get to eat for a quarter? Astonishing that the Food Depot can provide a nourishing meal for that same amount! Offering staples like rice, beans and fresh seasonal produce, they can stretch a quarter through donations and buying in quantity.
Maria Sanchez says, “Pets are members of the family, too” and, if a family is short of food, the pets suffer, too. So she started the Food 4 Pets program within The Food Depot and she herself delivers pet food along with the human food delivery up to the northern New Mexico poor every month. Fewer animals get dropped off at the shelters, the family keeps the pet they love, the pet keeps the family it loves – a win-win all round.
The Souper Bowl is The Food Depot’s major annual fundraiser, now in its 22nd new and improved year. They’ve learned some things along the way and made it much better. One gentleman told me really excitedly, “This year, they have the little cups of soup ready on the table for you to just pick up and take! Not the long lines waiting for a server to ladle the soup into your little cup, one at a time!” And, this year, the soups were displayed together by category, with all the cream soups near each other, the seafood soups side by side, and vegetarian and savory sorted accordingly, making it easier to compare. For example, L’Olivier and Del Charro both did lobster creations, totally different and both excellent … . La Plazuela and The Old House both made Green Chile Corn Chowders, nothing alike, each sabroso! No one but Izanami served Cream of Parsnip Soup with Sliced Kumquats and a sprinkling of almonds … visualize.
Some folks tasted a few soups and quickly dropped their ballots. Other people take quite seriously their responsibility to the process of culinary justice, thank goodness! Margo and Harvey Taylor got a sample of every soup in a category, then sat down and tasted each one. They took notes on their ballots, with checks for their favorites, then got up and went on to the next group until they had tried every soup and made an informed decision. I bet they’re as diligent in elections!
Some 1,350 tasters checked in, the majority of whom decided that Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen not only won the blue ribbon for the Best Seafood Soup, but also won the Souper Douper Best of Show! The Saturday, Jan. 30, lunchtime event raised $60,000 for the Food Depot … that is 240,000 meals in quarters.
Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Chapman and Jeffrey Scott enjoy themselves.
Barbara Hedrick and David Morris showed up for the Souper Bowl.
Melanie McWhorter gets ready to compare soups.
From left, Dana Pineda, Robbie Dobyns and Lynn Olmen attend The Food Depot’s fundraiser.
Taylor Readyhough and Kristi Halus sample soups.
Suzanne Stauffer and Harvey Taylor apply the taste test.
Judy Taylor checks out one of the Souper Bowl entries.
Jean Zitting snuggles with Xavi and baby Zandy.