With snowy, slippery conditions outside on Saturday evening, Feb. 21, the aromas coming out of the kitchen at Temple Beth Miriam in Elberon were particularly warming and comforting. A group of nine dedicated volunteers — half of the original crew who were actually able to get to the synagogue through the storm — came together to make soup and hallah rolls to sell and raise money for a local food pantry. Once Michael Vernick of Ocean Township, a member of the congregation’s social action committee and one of the primary chefs, arrived and was making his chicken stock, it was full steam ahead.
Committee member Liza Restifo said, “Driving to the soup-making event was treacherous and eventful — with a detour for an accident and blizzard conditions — but we were determined to get there to make soup! The ride home was much better except for some unplowed streets that felt like we were skiing. All in all, the soup making was productive and fun, quite the adventure.”
Vernick was in charge of chicken noodle soup. Vicki Brosniak — who was not able to get to the temple — shared her recipe for vegetarian mushroom barley soup, and Gayle Topper and her mother, Sue Gruskin, duplicated it. In all, 62 quarts of soup and lots of hallah rolls were prepared.
After religious school on Sunday, the soup and rolls were sold to congregants inside the lobby and to those waiting outside in the parking lot.
Sales, like the soups, were hearty, and resulted in $225 being raised to buy supplies for the food pantry at the Lutheran Church for the Reformation in West Long Branch.
“‘Thank you’ just doesn’t seem like enough to express the gratitude we feel for the partnership we have formed with Temple Beth Miriam to support the Reformation Community Food Pantry,” said pantry coordinator Debbie Keszler. “Your latest undertaking of making and selling soup to raise funds to purchase necessary items for the pantry is absolutely fabulous. What a great analogy — selling soup to provide food for the hungry. We so appreciate all you do for the pantry!”
Also instrumental in the success of the project were crew members Frank Restifo; Annie Raulerson; and Robert, Michael, and Elliot Topper.