ISLAND CITY — The COVID-19 pandemic will not sideline Shelter From the Storm’s popular and long-running Soup Supper fundraiser this spring.

Shelter From the Storm’s Soup Supper has been conducted annually for about three decades, and this year’s event will operate with a twist to allow for social distancing.

“We wanted to honor the tradition,” said Jamie Landa, executive director of Shelter From the Storm, a nonprofit that provides services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

In past years, Soup Supper participants picked up donated handmade bowls at the event, enjoyed a dinner there, and then took their bowls home. This year, the supper will not serve any soup because of social distancing restrictions. However, donors still will receive bowls and meals.

To participate in this year’s fundraiser, people must purchase a ticket online, at the Shelter From the Storm office or from one of its board members.

Then, starting April 17, donors will be able to come to Shelter From the Storm to pick up a ceramic bowl they can keep. They also will receive a voucher for soup from one of several Union County restaurants participating in the fundraiser.

Participants can pick up soup bowls and purchase soup voucher tickets April 17-30 at Shelter From the Storm, 10901 Island Ave., Island City, during office hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m.

While the method of getting the soup has changed, one element of the event remains the same: Local potters have made and donated all the Soup Supper bowls.

“They have been very generous,” Landa said.

Bob Jensen, co-owner of The Potter’s House with his wife, Judy, is among the potters who provided bowls. Jensen made 12 bowls for this year’s Soup Supper. He has been making bowls annually for the fundraiser for at least two decades.

“It is for a great cause,” said Jensen, a retired La Grande High School art teacher. Jensen had his LHS students make bowls for the Soup Supper years ago. He said it helped get them interested in a valuable community service organization.

Jensen is one of many local potters who made bowls for the Soup Supper in 2020 when Shelter From the Storm conducted it in traditional fashion just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Landa said. The organization’s fundraising efforts were hurt, though, in 2020 because it was not able to hold its 3 Rivers Race Against Domestic Violence in its regular manner due to COVID-19. The race went on virtually instead but was not nearly as successful as in the past.

Despite the 3 Rivers Race shortfall, Shelter From the Storm made it through 2020 intact. Landa credited this in large part to grants it received from the Women’s Foundation of Oregon and the All State Foundation.

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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