Serving with love and fellowship

Published 7:27 pm Saturday, November 1, 2008

An event that has been a favorite of the community for four decades is returning Tuesday, and it’s not the election.

The United Methodist Women of Clanton First United Methodist Church is having its annual “Soup Day” and Bake Sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Helen Parrish Activity Center.

The recipe is the same as your traditional beef vegetable soup, but it’s just a much larger quantity and much thicker.

“We cook the soup thicker because we do it ahead of time and because we’re cooking for so many people,” said 80-year-old Mittie Godbold, one of the events’ founders. “You just don’t have the space to store the soup that you would serve. So, we make it thick and then dilute it on Soup Day with tomato juice when we heat it up.”

Godbold said the reason they started Soup Day was because the UMW needed a fundraiser. She had heard that a church in Columbiana did a soup day to raise money, so she brought the idea to the group.

“They said, ‘We’ll do it, and you’re in charge,’” she said. “Everyone really enjoyed the soup, and we’ve just been doing it ever since.”

The women use either fresh or frozen ingredients to make the soup. No canned vegetables are used. They arrived at the soup’s recipe through trial and error, but there is an ingredient that makes it all special.

“We put a lot of love and fellowship into what we do,” said current Soup Day coordinator Elizabeth Cleckler. “We have a lot of fun with this.”

Past Soup Day coordinator Robbie Hafner said there are a large number of women and men who help with the event. There are workers from stirrers and dishwashers to the men who set up tables and chairs in the gym.

“It’s hard to say just how many people help us out,” Hafner said. “It brings our whole church together, and it brings the community together to have fellowship.”

Proceeds will help the UMW give money for missions and civic organizations such as United Way and Relay for Life. They also help purchase equipment for the church.

Tickets are $5 apiece, and meals include soup, cornbread and dessert. They will also be having a bake sale.

– Brent Maze can be reached at