BRIDGEPORT — Eat a little soup, do a lot of good.
That's the premise behind a partnership between Nana Organic and Benton House, which kicks off with a food-based fundraiser on Jan. 16, when the restaurant will supply gourmet soups and chili, hungry patrons can chow down for a donation and the century-old Bridgeport nonprofit pockets the proceeds to fund one of its youth programs.
This month, the money will help pay for the Robotics Rangers, a squad of high schoolers who build a highly-functional robotic device for team-building competitions.
The fundraiser will be held 5:30-8:30 p.m. in Benton House's Ramova Room, 3034 S. Gratten Ave., a community gathering spot furnished with stools, tables and booths from the fabled, and now shuttered, Ramova Grill and Healthy Foods restaurants. It's also used for Benton House's weekly food pantry program.
On the menu that night will be potato, cheese and poblano soup and a pozole, both cooked by Maria Solis (the namesake of the Bridgeport restaurant), plus several creations from chef Jeremy Kiens.
Nana is also helping host other events to benefit Benton House, which offers a roster of social programs for South Side communities. A chili and tamales competition is scheduled for Feb. 13 and a Pi Day pie-themed event is slated for March 14.
It's the latest in a local friendship solidified last summer, when Nana's diners were given the option to add donations for Benton House's Hunger Walk team onto their bill. The effort helped raise $1,300 for the volunteer-driven food pantry.
On the group's Facebook page, Benton House's Mark Lennon said Nana's involvement has been "nothing short of heroic.
"These great people, have made it a mission to advance our community and play a prominent role in ending food insecurity in Bridgeport. ... You'll find not only are they the most renown dining spot in our community, but they have hearts of gold," he said.
Tickets for the Jan. 16 fundraiser are $15 in advance, available by calling 773-927-6420 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or $20 at the door on the day of the event.