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Gourmet soups will bowl you over

Nov 07 2011

Souper Bowls of Hope makes its annual lunch stop at the Fairmont Empress hotel on Tuesday.

The hugely popular event, now in its 14th year, brings the public to the Empress to enjoy gourmet soups served by local celebrities. Guests can also take part in live and silent auctions, and select from an assortment of hand-made bowls as a momento.

Among the items up for auction are bowls signed by Elton John, who made a memorable February stop in Victoria this year, Selena Gomez and Avril Lavigne. There is also an apron signed by Josh Groban and a special limited-edition Robert Bateman print.

Souper Bowls of Hope, created by former Victoria Coun. Helen Hughes, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society over the years. One of the key services offered by the society is the Alliance Club, a place where youth with difficulties in their lives can get a hot meal or link to further needs like educational programs or detox.

Morgan McKinnon knows how much the Alliance Club can do, having first gone there when she was 15 and struggling to live on her own. The club helped her with food, counselling and securing a janitorial job, and she went on to earn a university degree before returning to the organization as a counsellor.

The Alliance Club is able to help youth with all sorts of issues and problems, McKinnon said in a statement.

"To each, though, the club is a place they are grateful to have access to."

Hughes said 100 per cent of proceeds go to initiatives like the Alliance Club. "The Alliance Club helped over 900 individual youth last year," Hughes said. "And they helped 600 with job and housing searches."

Souper Bowls of Hope runs from 11 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available at the Bay Centre guest services, Ivy's Book Shop or by calling 250-383-3514.

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