Good soup, good people, and a good cause; do community events get any better than that?
On Wednesday, January 30, it’s Maui’s turn to find out. Next week, HI SOUP, an O‘ahu organization, will take the trip to our island to put on an event that emphasizes community and giving back with a simple and yet elegant and impactful idea: Gather together, share a bowl of soup, and hear from organizations in the community who are doing good things. Then, after the presentations, participants will talk story and vote for the organization they want to support.
HI SOUP is a micro-granting dinner celebrating and supporting creative projects in Honolulu. On Maui, they’ve partnered with the Mālamalama Maui Project to host their first neighbor island SOUP. For a donation of $15, attendees receive soup, bread, and a vote. Throughout the evening, participants will hear from three presentations ranging from urban agriculture to social entrepreneurship in their community. After a community vote, the winner will get $12 from every ticket sold that evening.
The Maui event, which will take place at Heritage Hall in Pa‘ia from 6-8pm, has its roots on O‘ahu but is part of a larger global crowdfunding movement. The SOUP events were inspired by Detroit SOUP, but “each SOUP has its own personality, tailored specific to the organizer(s) vision,” said founder and organizer Samantha Ruiz, who began the project in Honolulu in 2014.
At the Wednesday event, people can expect “engagement and energy!” said Ruiz. “People should expect to be engaged, activated, and empowered at MAUI SOUP. The event is very participatory. Be ready for conversation! After the community listens to each project, we provide five minutes for the community to talk amongst each other and generate four questions to ask about the project pitched. Questions range from how will the project utilize funding to what is the overall vision of the project going forward.”
In addition to the engagement, attendees will be treated to a bowl of soup “by the lovely Kyra Bramble of More Pleaze,” Ruiz said. “She will be making a ginger-turmeric-coconut butternut squash soup. It will be a vegan soup to cater to everyone.” Importantly, those interested should come prepared. “People should also expect to BYO everything,” Ruiz told me. “We are aiming to make this a zero-waste event, so we encourage everyone who attends to bring their own bowl, cup, spoon, beverages, etc.”
At the Maui event, three projects will share their initiatives: Common Ground Collective, Hukilike no Maui, and the Maui School Garden Network. “These projects were identified and supported over the last two years by the Malamalama Maui initiative, which has worked with over 20 community partners in youth education, food culture and civic engagement as they related to the agricultural landscape on Maui,” said Ruiz.
The first event in Honolulu drew 50 people and raised $500 for “a small-scale urban agriculture organization called ‘Urban Farm Hawaii,’” said Ruiz. “Since then, we’ve worked with over a dozen local organizations throughout O‘ahu and continue to connect people to creative projects throughout their communities. Ruiz started a nonprofit while in college, Ideas for Us, to channel her instincts for contribution. “It’s an incredibly awakening moment when you realize that YOU are an agent of change!” Ruiz enthused. “That realization, through my involvement with Ideas for Us, flipped my worldview. Since then, I am in constant awe of the endless possibilities this world provides us to contribute to our place. I thrive on creating opportunities where people are reminded of their agency and ability.”
SOUP was natural fit for her interests and abilities. “I was really captivated by the concept of people coming together, outside of our established institutions, to celebrate the stories of their community, and support projects they believe in and trust, with little accountability after the funding is distributed. I believe the future will be so reliant upon the agreements rooted in trust, first and foremost. I love that HI SOUP is experimenting with trust as a contract in present day.”
Depending on how Wednesday goes, this could be a recurrent event. “The intention is to host SOUPs on Maui regularly. A quarterly SOUP, in partnership with different community organizations throughout the island, would be stellar!” said Ruiz. “That being said, each community is different, and will ultimately determine the cadence of SOUP according to the community’s needs and capacity.” Ruiz is happy to hear from community organizers who want to collaborate.
“We hope that HI SOUP can change the way people engage with the democratic process,” said Ruiz. “It’s a place to strike meaningful conversations, dream big, and feel the collective power of community. Embrace it!”
Maui Heritage Hall, 401 Baldwin Avenue, Pa‘ia
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Instagram: hisoup_ _
Image 1 courtesy facebook/Maui soup
Image 2 courtesy facebook/More pleaze