ELKHART — Church Community Services’ Soup of Success retail store had a historic day at its 16th annual open house.
Program director Betsy Ayrea said the event featuring gift baskets raised $3,740, a single-day record for the Soup of Success store.
During the holiday open house Saturday, Dec. 7, area residents could stop at Soup of Success and purchase customized gift baskets, while helping support local women in the process.
Program director Betsy Ayrea described Soup of Success as a program that helps area women gain skills to become self-sufficient.
“We’re trying to empower women in Elkhart County to not settle and really go for what they want to get,” Ayrea said. “Help them get unstuck, if you will.”
“They produce these products,” Ayrea said of the women in the program.
Women participate in the program for 20 weeks. Ayrea said 75 percent of clients’ time is spent in classes on career counseling, computer skills and money management.
The other 25 percent is spent running the retail arm of the program.
While Ayrea said the store offers gift baskets and other products year-round, the December open house gives visitors an increased awareness of organizations like CCS.
“Christmastime’s really important, even though we do it year-round,” she said. “It’s just a super popular time of year.”
The event was also a chance for residents to view changes occurring within the building at 907 Oakland Ave.
Renovations are underway at the building to offer a lobby for financial emergency clients and additional CCS counseling offices, Ayrea said.