Service sorority to host soup luncheon to benefit Fitch Camp

DOWAGIAC — With snow still covering the ground and snow storms blanketing southwest Michigan, people are continuing to bundle up in their winter coats to protect themselves from the harsh winter.

One local organization has decided to capitalize on this cold by offering people hot soup to warm their bones.

The sisters of Xi Delta Mu sorority of Beta Sigma Phi, along with Kappa Beta, will host their annual soup luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, at the First United Methodist Church, 326 N. Lowe St., Dowagiac. All proceeds from the event will benefit the E. Root Fitch Camp.

A donation of $5 will provide a lunch of chicken noodle, cheesy potato or beef barley soup, cut vegetables and homemade dessert. Carry-out options will be available.

Bobby Jo Hartline and Pam Franz, who are organizing the event, say it is for a worthy cause.

“[Fitch] Camp really is a tradition,” Franz said. “It does a lot for the kids of this community.”

Fitch Camp, located at Cable Lake, was established in 1941. The camp is open to Dowagiac elementary and middle school students and provides nature, sports, art and game activities throughout the summer months. Attendance, transportation and meals for the camp costs $1 a day for each camper.

“The kids come together, playing, organizing and learning,” Franz said. “So many people volunteer their time to help these kids go to camp.”

The sisters of Xi Delta Mu spend hours cooking and preparing for the soup luncheon, then spend the day of the event on their feet to ensure it is a success, Franz said. Though the event is hard work for them, she said that the sisters are happy to do their part for the community.

“We have fun in the kitchen,” Franz said. “There’s a camaraderie to it, and we get to benefit the kids. That is so important.”

Hartline said the soup luncheon has been a success for many years, often making around $2,000, because people in the community believe in the cause of Fitch Camp as much as the sisters of Xi Delta Mu do.

“It’s something that is near and dear to everyone’s hearts,” Hartline said. “You grow up at Fitch Camp, and you make great relationships, then you come back as a counselor. It happens quite often. So many of our students go all over the world, but still send checks back to the camp, because they know what Fitch Camp did for them as youth.”

Both Hartline and Franz said they would encourage anyone in the community to participate in this year’s soup luncheon.

“Not only will you be getting a great lunch, you will be benefiting the children of Dowagiac,” Hartline said. “It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s simple and affordable. It really does benefit our kids.”

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