United Way Stark SOUP health-focused dinner raises $2,700 for 12-year-old North Canton Middle School student’s plan to reduce child hunger

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Angela Atwood
Office: 330-491-9957
Mobile: 330-217-0088
United Way Stark SOUP health-focused dinner raises $2,700 for 12-year-old North Canton Middle School student’s plan to reduce child hunger
(Canton, OH), April 18, 2016 – Community change agents came together Sunday evening at the YWCA in Canton and sipped soup to raise funds as part of Stark SOUP, United Way’s Young Leaders Society’s dinner that awards micro grants to people with plans to make Stark County a better place in the areas of Education, Income and Health, United Way’s three building blocks for a better quality of life. This second Stark SOUP dinner supported United Way’s health building block.
The Stark SOUP recipe is simple: combine a group of advocates, ask for a modest $10 donation and listen to four worthwhile proposals for improving health in Canton. Add the votes and award the donation to the top proposal. The end result? A healthier community.
The four finalists – StarkFresh, 12-year-old North Canton Middle School student and TomTod Ideas volunteer Maranda Weigley, Anchor House and RedbudSuds – presented ideas to the crowd that would help Stark County residents access fresh produce, reduce child hunger, provide health care for the homeless and decrease chemical use in soap. Only one was able to walk away with the funds.
Using their soup spoons, participants voted for the $1,700 micro grant to go toward Maranda Weigley’s Anti-Hunger Games event. Her goal is to raise money for the North Canton Church of Christ Backpack Program which is the only such program providing weekend food for the North Canton City Schools 986 students (pre-school through grade 12) who receive free breakfasts and lunches and the 175 students who receive reduced price breakfast and lunches. 
“Children need enough food every day to stay healthy, perform well at school and be confident in knowing where their next meal is coming from,” she said. 
Weigley will use the micro grant to rent and purchase the much-needed equipment and supplies required to run the event. She anticipates the Anti-Hunger Games will take place in late September or early October 2016.
The winner’s pot was supplemented with a $1,000 matching grant provided by United Way’s Young Leaders Society for a total of $2,700 going to the winner. Weigley will return to the next Stark SOUP dinner, Aug. 14, to report on the progress of her plan.
Better Future Facilitators received a $2,400 micro grant at the inaugural Stark SOUP dinner in January for their program enabling high potential homeless citizens living in shelters opportunities to co-create smaller business. The group presented the results of the program so far Sunday evening.
Innovative education-based ideas will be heard Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, at the final Stark SOUP event ¬(application opens April 25 and closes July 1, final four announced July 29). More information is available at www.uwstark.org/StarkSOUP. 
Special thanks to Golden Ladle Presenting Sponsor, Basil Asian Bistro, Wooden Spoon Sponsors GDK & Company and Jab Advertising and In-kind Sponsors, Cheryl Henderson (Innis Maggiore Group, Inc.), A Studio Photography, Deli Ohio, Fishers Foods, Hazel and Rye Artisan Baking Company, The M. Conley Company, the Palace Theatre and Pleasant Wealth LLC. Also, a special thank to you the YWCA in Canton for hosting the Stark SOUP events.
About United Way
United Way of Greater Stark County believes in creating long-lasting change in three important impact areas of focus: Education, Income and Health. The agency collaborates, convenes, and partners to support programs and initiatives that break the cycle of poverty and promote a healthy community where kids are successful from kindergarten through graduation to a career, and families have the tools, skills, and support they need to become financially independent. 
For more information about United Way visit www.uwstark.org. Headquarters are at 401 Market Avenue North, Suite 300, Canton, Ohio 44702. Dial (330) 491-0445 to reach the offices.