For six years, the supper has been a tradition.
Hundreds of Center Grove area residents will pour into the high school Friday to eat soup and bread to help an Indianapolis hospital.
They eat the soup for their children, siblings and friends who have been treated at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.
“We have had so many students who have benefited from Riley hospital,” student council adviser Lindsay Hardin said.
The annual event has been a major part of the Center Grove Student Council’s gift to the hospital at the end of every year.
Of the $3,000 that is given after a year of fundraising, about a third comes from students sipping soup before a basketball game, Hardin said.
Part of the success of the dinner is the uniqueness of the fundraiser, Hardin said.
High schools across the state, including Center Grove, host dance marathons to raise money and dance the night away.
Center Grove also hosts karaoke contests at lunch for students and a dodge ball tournament, ideas that in part come from student council conventions. But soup dinners aren’t pitched at those conventions, she said.
“This idea of a soup dinner is a novelty,” Hardin said. “I don’t think that this is a typical thing done in schools.”
Student council members do their best to make sure that the dinner is advertised widely. They cook up pots of soup themselves and ask local restaurants for soup, bread and desserts to round out the feast.
Students had a to see which teen could eat the soup the fastest. Video of the showdown is being played on Center Grove’s student television station to drum up student interest.
Organizers expect more than 400 diners Friday. Attending the dinner has become a holiday tradition for some, according to junior Sneha Dave, a member of the organizing committee.
“A lot of our community know that Riley has been a super, super part of our community,” Dave said. “There are so many Riley kids within our community.”
Dave joined the committee after she had her own experience with the hospital. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, when she was 6. Some of her childhood memories include time spent at the hospital, she said.
“Riley has been my second home,” she said. “Riley is so important to me. It has given me my life back.”
Part of the dinner’s success is the community’s understanding the importance that Riley has had on lives, Dave and Hardin said.
Many students have been touched by the hospital. Community members remember the story of Tyler Genneken and his fight against cancer, Hardin said.
Their memories prompt them to attend the dinner, she said.
“He was a big part of our school’s history,” Hardin said.
What: Soup Dinner for Riley
When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Center Grove High School, 2717 S. Morgantown Road, Greenwood
Cost: $5 for individuals; $15 for a family
“Riley has been my second home. Riley is so important to me. It has given me my life back.”
Center Grove High School junior Sneha Dave, on why she helps with a fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children