Charity of Choice: Ferndale Soup

Charity of Choice, Feb 2012: Ferndale Soup!

Each month The Ferndale 115 News partners with a local charity or community project to help raise funds online.  The Charity of Choice gets 85%, and 15% goes towards Ferndale 115 News operating expenses.

This month’s Charity is Ferndale Soup.  The premise of Ferndale Soup is simple.  On the third Sunday of each month, a bunch of people get together and each pay $5 to enjoy some soup (and other delicious food) and listen to presentations about projects that people would like to start.  Then they vote on which project gets to take home the funding.

The event takes place at the collective workspace of Paper Street, located at 1511 E. Jarvis, which is warehouse/factory space which has been divided up to provide small independent businesses of many types an inexpensive place to rent, with many fringe benefits.  The large open area gave space for tables and plenty of food when they had their first Ferndale Soup on Jan. 15, 2012.  At that event proposals included a charity that goes to inner city parks and mows the grass for free, and an online media outlet focusing on hip hop and social awareness, and a community farm for Ferndale.  $310 was raised, which was given to The Mower Gang, who will be using it for “Gasoline and Gatorade.”

Tom Nadrone founded The Mower Gang a year and a half ago because he “wanted to do some charity work,” and it “seemed easy” because he likes doing it so much.  The Mower Gang surveyed Detroit parks for those that had usable playground equipment and kids living nearby, then went to work cleaning them up.  On any given day 20-60 people show up with their mowers and their riding mowers to do the work.

Typically the volunteers bring their mowers full of fuel, but the grant obtained at Ferndale Soup will help them defer some of the cost and help cover the expense of hydrating beverages like Gatorade and water. “Those guys come out and they put wear and tear on their equipment.  Sometimes they run over bottles or rocks and it messes up their blades.  But they are giving people.  We should make it easier on them.”

The group is always looking for volunteers and equipment.  Their website is  Nadrone says he intends to continue helping Ferndale Soup be successful.  “Soup is awesome, it’s so much fun,” he said. “The location was fantastic, tables and chairs for everyone.  I brought my kids.  Everyone leaves feeling good.  For $5 you get a great meal and it goes to a good cause.  I’m gonna keep going.”

Ferndale Soup aims to help many projects like The Mower Gang.  The Soup concept is modeled after Detroit Soup, an event that Paper Street founder Andy Didorosi found particularly inspiring.

He hopes the concept will catch on in Ferndale. “There’s so many current ideas that need funding and so many more that will come out of such an inspirational environment. I bet we’ll see projects like community greenhouses, funding for social movements like backyard chicken legislation and some totally cool art pieces,” he said.

‘I got the idea to start Ferndale Soup after visiting the super fantastic Detroit Soup. I figured the creative energy fueling the Detroit Soup exists in spades in Ferndale – it’s high time we began funding small projects about our own little ‘burg.

‘We’ve heard there are Soups in Dearborn, Spaulding Court and others are cropping around. I’ve personally only had the honor of attending the Detroit version,” he said.  “We’ll have the $5 donations to start and see if any potential sponsors crop up. We’d love to find some sponsor dollars to give forward to the projects that win the vote. We never want to profit from Ferndale Soup – 100% of all money taken in will go directly to the project that wins the vote.”

Alan Languirand was one of over 60 attendees at the inaugural Ferndale Soup event. “I’ve been to several SOUP format events in Detroit, and this was a good new take on the atmosphere and agenda,” said Languirand said. “Being able to give all the money away was huge, and possible because Paper Street already has resources in place and just wanted to raise awareness about the programs there.  I’ll be back.”

Everyone is welcome to the family-friendly Ferndale Soups.   Held the third Sunday of each month with doors opening at 6:30pm and presentations at 7:30. The next will be Sunday, Feb 19th.

Throughout February, The Ferndale 115 News will collect donations for Ferndale Soup, with their portion being applied towards the grant for March.  Donate with the button below, and thank you for supporting community projects like The Ferndale 115 News and Ferndale Soup.

Learn more about Paper Street at  Find out more about Ferndale Soup at

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