HIGH SPRINGS ‒ Given that hot soup on a cold winter day is always a popular dish, the GFWC New Century Woman’s Club took the idea further and created a January charitable event of homemade soup. But to give the event a distinct spin, it was not the members of the Woman’s Club who made the soup, but rather, 14 men who volunteered to make their own special soup recipes for the event.

The High Springs New Century Woman’s Club has a long history of community involvement and charitable causes. The club was organized in 1899 by 12 women and it was federated with the national organization in 1900. The first president was Mrs. L.C. Gracy. In 1912, financed by Club president Mrs. James Paul and her husband, the building for the club was built on donated land and has been home to the group ever since.

They are also one of the oldest Woman’s Clubs in Florida, founded only nine years after the National Organization was founded. Today, there are over 60,000 members nationwide

The goal of all the chapters is to “transform lives each day, not simply with monetary donations, but with hands-on tangible projects that provide immediate impact through educational, literary, scientific, and charitable endeavors.”

The High Springs club focuses on major issues that affect communities daily such as supporting women’s health, preserving natural resources, promoting literacy and equality, citizen advocacy, and encouraging volunteer service. The High Springs Club motto is “Not for ourselves alone, but for others.” With that motto in mind, the club, which has about 100 members, organizes at least one large charitable event per month to raise money for various groups and projects.

January’s “Real Men Make Soup” charitable event had local men rolling up their sleeves and creating a diverse assortment of steaming homemade soup. Some participants made ethnic soups like Gumbo, Taco Soup, Tortellini and Italian Wedding soup. Others went with seafood and made clam chowder while still others brought their own favorite variations to the ever-popular chicken soup. Yet other men opted for heartier stick-to-your rib choices like lasagna soup, cheesy potato and bacon, chicken pot pie and meat stew.

Tickets to the sold-out event went for $15. And for people purchasing the $15 tickets—they had the enviable opportunity to sample all 14 soup varieties—as many times as they wanted. And members of the Woman’s Club served up a captivating array of homemade desserts. All profits from the event were donated to the High Springs Community School's Athletic Program.

Next month the club will feature a Spaghetti to Go take out dinner complete with a roll, salad and desert for $10. Pick up the dinners on Feb. 6 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the New Century Woman’s Club, 23674 West U.S. Highway 27 in High Springs. The money from the upcoming Spaghetti to Go fundraiser will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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