Community members enjoying their soup and sandwich meal at last year's event in the Leipsic Community Center.
Community members enjoying their soup and sandwich meal at last year's event in the Leipsic Community Center (photo submitted)

LEIPSIC — “My mom, actually, was the chairman of the Nurture Committee at the church at the time that we did our first one,” says organizer Marsha Dresbach, “We had a young man who was in a car accident and became a quadriplegic. He had some needs, and we, kind of last minute, said, ‘Let’s try a Soup & Sandwich Supper.’”

“And so, we did it. We then decided, ‘This went pretty well. Let’s do it again.’ Now, here we are, 21 years later.”

Ms. Dresbach is discussing the 22nd Annual Soup & Sandwich Supper. The event will take place on Friday, November 1, 4-7 p.m., at The Leipsic Community Center, before Leipsic’s final home football game of the season against Arlington.

The event is part of the outreach mission of the Leipsic United Methodist Church. Five different soups will be available this year, along with sloppy joe and chicken sandwiches, as well as hot dogs, for both dine-in and carry-out supporters. Organizers collect a free-will offering for the meal, and a raffle will be held as well with tickets for purchase.

All funds raised will be given directly to Leipsic community members Ida Velasquez, who has been battling cancer for approximately three years and is no longer able to work, and the family of two-year-old Weston Schroeder, who was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that can result in congenital heart defects requiring surgical intervention.

“Everything that we serve is donated,” continues Ms. Dresbach. “We pull people from all of the churches in the community, and others as well. They donate the food. Truly, all of the money donated the night of the supper is then given to the recipients.”

According to Ms. Dresbach, the recipient(s) are selected in the late summer of each year. They are always from the community or have a strong connection to it. The supper itself always takes place on the evening of Leipsic High School’s last home football game of the season. Numerous members of the community contribute their time, cooking skills, and help in other ways to make the event a success.

“Many times, family members of past recipients, or past recipients themselves, if they’re doing well, will help on the night of the event,” adds

Ms. Dresbach. “Or, they donate food. They donate raffle prizes. They almost all come to support the event. That’s what’s really neat. They come and give back…Maybe they’re from a family that has never been to the event before. And then, they were touched by the event, and they realize that this is important.”

Though contributing to their community has always been important to Ms. Dresbach’s family, she also shares this connection to the event with past recipients. Though never intended, her family became part of that small group.

“Sixteen years ago, my mother was actually a recipient. And then, she passed away,” Ms. Dresbach says.

“She was a nurse, and a Leipsic native,” she continues. “At one time, she was on EMS. She was in charge of the band boosters (as it was called then) for years. She was known as, ‘Happy the Clown.’ She made balloon animals.”

In short, the elder Mrs. Dresbach was a person who, much like her daughter today, cared deeply for her community. She expressed the depth of her feelings by helping out whenever and however she could. And, when help wasn’t needed, she endeavored to bring joy. “Her laugh,” Ms. Dresbach says, “People remember her laugh.”

Remembering this legacy, and what it means to her personally, brings momentary tears to Ms. Dresbach’s eyes. She also notes that her father provides this same type of example, having served on the local school board for 12 years, in addition to being the Ag Instructor at Leipsic, and he still helps out regularly with the food pantry.

When asked if this is why she now takes on the task of organizing the annual soup & sandwich supper, along with several other ways that she regularly contributes to her community, Ms. Dresbach answers simply and affirmatively, “I was raised right.”

Through its first 21 years, the annual soup and sandwich event has distributed over $135,000 directly to community members facing severe medical issues.