ST. CLOUD - Here's a chance for you to pitch a St. Cloud Metro community improvement project...all while enjoying a potluck meal with friends and neighbors.
St. Cloud SOUP is a new organization with the goal of giving out "microgrants" to community projects in the St. Cloud area. They will start hosting gatherings in the late summer.
It's a unique and interesting concept: At a SOUP event, participants gather for a potluck dinner and are asked for a suggested $5 donation at the door. Before dinner is served, four presenters who have a project idea to improve the community will be given four minutes to explain how it would improve the community. The audience can then ask four questions of each presenter.
Once the presentations are finished, the audience eats and then votes for the proposal they like best. The money collected will go to the winning presenter. All that's asked is the winner comes back to share their progress at a future SOUP gathering.
Sam Court is an organizer for St. Cloud SOUP, he says there are only two requirements for projects being pitched at gatherings.
"It just needs to be something that will improve the community and it has to be something staying in the St. Cloud Metro area."
Court says he was inspired to start a St. Cloud SOUP group with family and friends after hearing from his brother in La Crosse, Wisconsin about their SOUP group.
"Some project examples I heard in La Crosse was to fund a mini park in a run down parking lot, there were signs for bike trails, and people who wanted to do mini libraries outside of their neighborhood."
Any group or individual is welcome to submit and pitch an idea.
"It's open to anybody: school groups, non-profits, individuals, neighborhoods, whoever has a great idea that just wants to help out," Court says.
The first St. Cloud SOUP gathering is being planned for August 21st at 5:00 p.m. in the St. Cloud Municipal Complex Sunroom.
For more information and to keep up with future St. Cloud SOUP gatherings, check out their Facebook Page.