Here at Storey, we're busy with preparations for tonight's Soup Night! The rain is coming down outside and it feels like a perfect time for gathering under the same roof and sharing a meal with colleagues, authors, community members, neighbors, and friends. While we set up the centerpieces, enjoy these excerpted tips for successful Soup Night planning and execution from the hosts who know best.
|Centerpieces for a Storey soup night in the works|
If you are excited about the idea of Soup Night and would like to see one on your block, you will find plenty of help from the hosts whose stories are described in this book. Several of them took the extra step of outlining some of the things they have learned over the years about how to orchestrate Soup Night and keep it going. I have grouped them together here, along with my sincere thanks for their generosity. I have supplemented their accumulated wisdom with the following step-by-step outline of what it takes to start a Soup Night in your neighborhood.
Recruit one other neighbor as a partner. If you don’t already know all your neighbors, ask someone who knows the people you don’t to be your partner in this adventure.
Pick a date one or two weeks away to host your first neighborhood Soup Night. Weekends are generally the best.
Write a short letter, explaining the idea and giving the specifics of the first Soup Night, to be held at your house. List your address and phone number, along with the date and time in big letters. Make enough copies for all the houses on the block.
Go door to door with your partner, introducing yourself if need be and explaining your idea. Leave a copy of the letter.
Note the addresses where no one is home, and make a second effort. If they’re still not home, leave your letter with a handwritten P.S. asking if they would please call you.
Prepare a colorful reminder invitation two or three days before the event and distribute it to everyone. Add a handwritten line for those you have not yet heard from, saying you hope they will come.
Barbara Rice, Chantilly, Virginia
- Invite everyone. That’s really the whole point — so that people get to know each other.
- Do as much in advance as possible. Many soups can be made ahead, either completely or partially. Garnishes can be prepped ahead too. You don’t want hours of last-minute work, or how else would you survive to do the next Soup Night?
|Among tonight's attendees: authors of these Storey titles.|
Grace Martin, Aurora, Illinois
- We distributed creative invitations for a number of years, but a neighborhood directory which includes e-mail addresses has moved the invitations to the electronic level of communication and makes it a lot less expensive and a lot less work.
- We live in a small historic district with defined boundaries. Having a clearly defined area also makes our Soup Nights successful as we have an identity as neighbors. Identifying and defining a geographical area is important even if there isn’t a ready-made target area.
- I keep a file for soup ideas to get me launched, but of course, adapt according to what I have on hand or what’s for sale. It’s good to give yourself permission to be flexible.