An annual event now in its 29th year, Youth Villages Soup Sunday gives the people of the Mid-South a chance to sample delicious soup, bread, dessert and other delicacies from more than 50 of the best area restaurants and caterers while supporting Youth Villages' programs to help troubled children and their families.
Over the last quarter century, this event has become one of the most recognizable attractions in the Memphis community. With the support of our committee, volunteers, staff, and patrons, Soup Sunday events have raised nearly $1 million for the various programs Youth Villages offers.
Soup Sunday is truly a great event for the whole family. Along with the fantastic food, there will be live music and lots of fun for the kids such as the annual Oreo stacking contest, a magic show and appearances from team mascots.
We hope to see you there!
In the winter of 1990, Youth Villages’ supporters and the owners of some of the Mid-South’s best restaurants began to develop the idea of a fundraiser to help children with emotional and behavioral problems.
The original event organizers, Danny Sumrall and Mike Warr, brought the idea to Memphis from a similar event in Little Rock. After two decades, thousands of gallons of soup, and almost a million dollars raised, Soup Sunday seems to have caught on.
The first Soup Sunday was held in February 1990 at Captain Bilbo’s in downtown Memphis. The inaugural event was an immediate success, drawing hundreds of participants. Before long, it was one of the area’s favorite events and was moved to the larger Woodland Hills in Cordova, Tenn. Event staples like the Oreo-stacking contest, the Doctor’s Band, and of course, the area’s best soups made Soup Sunday one of the hottest tickets in town.
Starving for space, the event moved to the Pyramid in 2001. The Pyramid served as a great venue for three years and provided a great location to make a major addition to Soup Sunday, the VIP Souper Party, which was added in 2002.
With the addition of the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA, the city got a brand new basketball arena called simply, FedExForum. Besides providing a top quality venue to watch concerts, professional and college sports, and other specialty events, FedExForum became the new home of Soup Sunday in 2004.
Many people have put in significant hours of service over the past 27 years. From the event founders, Danny and Mike, to Wight and the late Thomas Boggs, and on to Tom Cassidy, Elizabeth Cagle, and Libby Wyatt, the spirit of service has always been a part of Soup Sunday. In fact, Youth Villages CEO Pat Lawler noted at a recent Soup Sunday that “we have more volunteers helping us run Soup Sunday today than we had paying customers in the early years.”
We thank everyone who has volunteered for this event over the years. It could not have happened without you.