Garret Pristie is excited to offer Quesnel residents a chance to pitch their ideas for community improvement projects and have them crowdfunded through a new initiative he is organizing called Quesnel Soup. People can pre-register now to pitch their ideas on Feb. 26. Contributed photo

Quesnel Soup event to crowdfund community improvement projects

Groups invited to pitch; event attendees will vote to help fund innovative community projects

A new event in Quesnel is looking to inspire and encourage new ideas and involvement in our community.

Twenty-one-year-old Garret Pristie is organizing Quesnel Soup, a new 100-per-cent-volunteer-driven event that crowdfunds creative and innovative projects in our city.

Guests at the Mar. 12 event will enjoy a simple soup dinner with friends, as well as a cash bar with local and B.C. beer and wine, and hear about interesting community improvement ideas and then vote for their favourite idea or project.

Pristie says the idea originated from something called Detroit Soup. A group of people started the Soup event to “promote community-based development through crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust and fun” in 2010 and put out a guide for people who wanted to start their own.

Pristie first heard of the idea when Amy Quarry of Long Table Grocery brought it to him. Pristie, who is Long Table’s community project lead, was inspired as soon as he heard about the initiative.

“I was super excited to see if we could get one started,” he says.

At the Mar. 12 event, all funds raised through ticket sales and donations are given to the winner. Children are welcome to attend or pitch. Quesnel Soup guests are encouraged to bring their own bowl and spoon.

“It’s called ‘Soup’ because it’s a potluck dinner, and the idea behind soup was it’s something easy for people to donate and easy to have,” says Pristie.

“People would bring their own bowl and spoon and try different soups, and they would sit and visit with everybody.”

Pristie says as the event approaches, they are actively seeking people with fresh ideas who are in need of a little cash to make their ideas a reality. Pitch auditions will take place Monday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at Long Table Grocery at 678 Doherty Drive. You must pre-register for the pitch auditions.

Pristie says they will help and work with the people who register for the pitch auditions, and four pitches will be chosen for the Mar. 12 event.

Pristie, who was born and raised in Quesnel, is passionate about the city and wants to get more young people involved and invested in their community, and he hopes Quesnel Soup is a way to do that.

“I think for me, because I’m a young person in Quesnel, I know there are very few young people involved in the community,” he says.

“My biggest hope for [Quesnel Soup] is that I can help get people involved in the community. That’s something I’m very passionate about because I love Quesnel with my whole heart.”

Pristie hopes Quesnel Soup will give people an opportunity to network, learn about community members, groups and organizations and hear new ideas and that this will give people the push they might need to get out and get involved.

“I know myself, and Amy is the same, we just like to help people and make their ideas a reality,” he says.

“Even though there will only be one that gets the money, hopefully hearing about the ideas will get people out and about and volunteering. Hopefully, it gets people more involved and volunteering and feeling like they’re part of Quesnel, not just somebody who lives here.”

Anyone who is interested in pitching an idea, volunteering or sponsoring an event can contact Pristie at 250-255-3153 or garretpristie@gmail.com.

Tickets for the Mar. 12 Quesnel Soup event are $10 per person and are available at Long Table Grocery and at Mama C’s Gifts ‘n’ Giggles at 424B Reid Street, by cash only.

For more information about Quesnel Soup, find the Facebook event at www.facebook.com/events/ 1456015831194347/.

“I’m excited; there are only eight other Soups in Canada, and we will be the first small community,” says Pristie, noting the other Soups take place in larger communities like Vancouver and Ottawa.

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