Sunday, November 23, 2014


A Santa hat hangs on a peg during the Soup of Success open house Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. The SOS store was open for shoppers to select items they would like in a gift basket and then a team of volunteers would create and decorate the baskets for the customers. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Soup of Success counselor Maisha Seeback tapes a gift box for shipping during the Church Community Services open house Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. The SOS store was open for shoppers to select items they would like in a gift basket and then a team of volunteers would create and decorate the baskets for the customers. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Soup of Success counselor Maisha Seeback tapes a gift box for shipping during the Church Community Services open house Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. The SOS store was open for shoppers to select items they would like in a gift basket and then a team of volunteers would create and decorate the baskets for the customers. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Soup of Success counselor Maisha Seeback, right, completes wrapping a gift box for shipping during the Church Community Services open house Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. The SOS store was open for shoppers to select items they would like in a gift basket and then a team of volunteers would create and decorate the baskets for the customers. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Jessie Flowers wraps a gift basket at Soup of Success during the Church Community Services open house Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. The SOS store was open for shoppers to select items they would like in a gift basket and then a team of volunteers would create and decorate the baskets for the customers. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Soup of Success volunteer Barbara Vernon, right, fills a gift basket for Elkhart resident Maggie Morgan during the Church Community Services open house Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. The SOS store was open for shoppers to select items they would like in a gift basket and then a team of volunteers would create and decorate the baskets for the customers. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Tina Heath, right, pulls strands of ribbons for a bow as Shelly Gatley, left, creates a bow at Soup of Success during the Church Community Services open house Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. The SOS store was open for shoppers to select items they would like in a gift basket and then a team of volunteers would create and decorate the baskets for the customers. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)

Tina Heath, right, positions strands of ribbon as she creates a bow while Shelly Gatley, left, finishes a bow at Soup of Success during the Church Community Services open house Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. The SOS store was open for shoppers to select items they would like in a gift basket and then a team of volunteers would create and decorate the baskets for the customers. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard) (AP)
Soup of Success open house enjoys record-setting day

Posted on Dec. 7, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

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.