COUNTRYSIDE, Ill. (WLS) -- Hundreds of people gathered at the Holiday Inn in Countryside for the 12th Annual Soup and Bread fundraiser to benefit BEDS Plus, a nonprofit organization that helps people experiencing homeless and those at risk of homelessness in the southwest suburbs.
"All these people aren't here just for a bowl of soup. No, they're actually here for a wonderful event," said The Works Pizzeria & Tavern owner Arzie Balovski.
They served up comfort food in an effort to comfort the community.
"We provide meals for people who are in our shelter. They sit at tables together with strangers, volunteers, staff and clients and so, we wanted to recreate that," said BEDS Plus Chief Executive Officer Tina Rounds.
Frank Clarke, an attendee and volunteer for Sunday's event, said Beds Plus has helped his family in the past.
"They help people. No matter who you are - what race, what creed - they don't make any difference," Clarke said.
Balovski and her husband are the owners of The Works Pizzeria & Tavern in Summit, one of the dozens of local restaurants, bars and breweries that donated food and drinks to the fundraiser.
"It's amazing all these little communities, all the little businesses that are in the community, brings us all together with a bowl of soup. Like, how incredible is that?" Balovski said.
The money raised Sunday will go toward the organization's emergency shelter and support services.
"We can fill in those blanks and gaps where federal and state programs aren't able," Rounds said.
And BEDS Plus said with a record number of people experiencing homelessness, they are working harder so life for others doesn't have to be as hard.
"Just providing for people who are in need makes our community safer and stronger and just a better place to live," Rounds said.