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Take the night off from making dinner and support your community at the fourth annual Soup for a Cause.

Volunteers of America Northern Rockies will host its yearly fundraiser, Soup for a Cause, from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at Central States Fairground Fine Arts Buildings in Rapid City. Tickets at the door are $30 per family, $15 per adult or $5 per child. Kids age 5 and younger eat free. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 per family, $10 per adult at the Volunteers of America office, 111 New York St. All proceeds help people in need in Rapid City and western South Dakota.

“People can come and go. It’s like a community potluck. You bring your kids after football practice or whatever you have going on, and you come and enjoy a bowl of soup with your friends and neighbors,” said Kelly Folsom, advancement specialist for Volunteers of America. “We have walls and walls of soup, generally 30 to 40 soups, and they’re fantastic.”

Soups and desserts are made and donated by restaurants, churches and other organizations and volunteers, Folsom said. More donations of food are needed for the event. Anyone who would like to donate soup or dessert can contact Folsom at 415-0907 by Nov. 1.

The soups will be served in a unique variety of bowls that people can take home as souvenirs. Donations of soup bowls are welcome by Nov. 1. Contact Folsom for information.

“The bowls are donated by community partners and they’re eclectic bowls from all over the community,” Folsom said.

Soup for a Cause will include entertainment by Sequoia Crosswhite, a musician who plays original contemporary hip-hop and rock on guitar and Lakota flute. A separate children’s area will offer carnival games and a selection of kid-friendly soups, Folsom said.

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit faith-based organization that empowers those in need to rebuild and live healthier lives. This year’s Soup for a Cause has a goal to raise $40,000. That money specifically supports five VOA programs that aid some of the most vulnerable people in the Black Hills and western South Dakota.

Mommy’s Closet is a crisis resource provider for children younger than age 5. It’s a diaper pantry where families in need can obtain diapers. Mommy’s Closet also distributes diapers to other community partners to disperse to families.

Camp POSTCARD, which just finished its second year, is a youth leadership and empowerment camp. POSTCARD stands for Peace Officers Striving To Create And Reinforce Dreams. School resource officers select fifth and sixth grade kids to attend the camp, which offers a mix of outdoor activities, mentorship and leadership training. The campers are kids who are in need of positive life experiences, Folsom said. The program works with schools in Rapid City, Custer, Hill City, Douglas school district, Sturgis, Spearfish, Whitewood and the Belle Fourche area.

“We keep growing every year,” Folsom said. “What we’re hoping to do is, by getting them in fifth and sixth grade, with positive mentorship they will see officers as resources and not as somebody there to get them in trouble.”

Mommy’s Closet and Camp POSTCARD are funded exclusively by Volunteers of America.

Veterans Outreach provides case management, a day center used by 175 veterans a week, and transportation services to Fort Meade and the VA Medical Center in Hot Springs.

HIV Prevention provides education to high-risk youth and adults who are in treatment centers or incarcerated in the Rapid City area. Counseling, testing and referral services help low-income individuals become aware of their HIV status and learn how to reduce risky behaviors that contribute to spreading or contracting HIV.

“We (deal with) all active HIV cases in West River,” Folsom said. “We have about 125 people on our caseload living with HIV and most are in Pennington County. … The highest-risk group are heterosexuals who are intravenous drug users.”

Ryan White Care Act is a federal program that provides medical case management, Folsom said. Volunteers of America has a nurse who helps with that care.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest for people living with an infectious disease to be in care,” Folsom said. “Stigma keeps people from getting tested and seeking treatment, but it doesn’t stop the disease. Awareness is what we’re working on now. … Treatments are improving. You can live a long and healthy life; that’s our goal.”

For more information about Volunteers of America, go to voanr.org/rapid-city-services

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