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28th annual Souper Day fundraiser

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, the New Bethany Souper Day Fundraiser drew 250 guests to the Event Center at Blue. Each year the event raises money needed by New Bethany Ministries to provide multiple services to needy people, including 37,000 hot meals annually, 3,200 showers, clothing, temporary housing and assistance finding permanent housing and employment, among other services.

Marc Rittle, executive director of New Bethany, welcomed the New Bethany staff. In addition to paid staff, there are hundreds of volunteers who help in numerous ways. Rittle announced that so far this year, New Bethany has raised over $120,000 to assist the people it serves. Numerous organizations help fund its work. Rittle noted that the Lehigh Valley is full of caring, generous people. Explaining the reason for his support, one donor told him that “God whispered in my ear.”

This year the guest speaker was Bill White, former “Morning Call” columnist who retired after forty-four years. He recalled how much he loved writing about “Luminaria Night,” which benefits New Bethany, when he would take refugees,esenior citizens and needy children, among others, to see the lights. He commented that he wishes that “people who haven’t seen poverty would have an opportunity to see it up close.”

Rittle commented that “our staff will help whoever appears at our doorstep.” Illustrating the point was Lisa Cabot, a resident at the New Bethany Coplay facility, who shared her story. In the space of a short time, her sister committed suicide, her father suffered several strokes and had to move into Gracedale, and Lisa herself was diagnosed with cancer and then evicted from her residence. After spending time in the hospital, she lived for a while in her car. Eventually she “got lucky” in getting help from New Bethany, and she expressed thanks for the program that has enabled her “to live a productive life.” “I’m not the only one [at New Bethany] with a heart- breaking story” of great need, she added in conclusion.

As attendees departed, they might have noticed a sign on the wall of Blue which read, “No one can do everybody but everybody can do something.” Illustrating the point was the Blue Event Center, which donated the facility and the meal that was served to the New Bethany staff, volunteers, and guests.

Lisa Cabot, a New Bethany client, gave a human face to the organization's work, stunning the audience with an account of extraordinary personal tragedy that could happen to anyone and then rescue by New Bethany. Copyright -