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Seven-year-old Marissa Murphy of Hudson picks the perfect bowl to fill with some tasty soup during the March 16 "Souper Bowl" event at Windham High School. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)

Souper Bowl in Windham raises funds for New Horizons

WINDHAM - It was an evening of food, fellowship and funding for a very worthy cause.

On Saturday night, locals gathered at Windham High School for the town's "Souper Bowl" event to benefit New Horizons, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Manchester.

Guests had the chance to choose from around 200 or so handcrafted ceramic bowls, which they filled over and over again with a variety of soups provided by local eateries.

The first Souper Bowl was held in March 2011, when a group of Windham High School students banded together to begin raising funds and awareness of the plight of some of their neighbors.

That year volunteers raised more than $1,800 for New Horizons. There was no event last year, though art teacher Hannah Cole, one of the event's organizers, said she's hoping to keep the tradition going. About 20 minutes after the doors opened Saturday night, Cole and fellow art teacher Janet Robbins said they'd collected nearly $500 toward the cause.

By night's end, they had raised $1,300.

Hundreds of area volunteers, from the students and local Girl Scouts who painted clay bowls to the National Honor Society students who reached out to area businesses for donations, made the night a possibility.

Jeff Trovato, a senior at Windham High School and the event's student coordinator, said he was pleased to see all his efforts pay off.

"This has been many weeks of planning, organizing and driving around," Trovato said, noting that about 20 members of the Honor Society and countless other student volunteers assisted in his mission.

Kumo Sushi, Tuscan Kitchen, The Common Man, Windham Deli, Windham Junction, Aquatic Escapes, Culinary Capers, The Windham Restaurant, J Michaels and A.J. Letizio served up their finest soups, chowders and stews, while Panera Bread breads and baked goods made by parents and volunteers completed Friday's spread. Also lending a helping hand was Shaw's Supermarkets, Dunkin' Donuts, Convenient MD Urgent Care and the Dahar Law Firm.

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