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NAMI:CV serving up comfort at this year's Battle of Plattsburgh

PLATTSBURGH - The people behind the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Champlain Valley think they've found the perfect recipe for a fundraiser - a soup cook-off.

The nonprofit mental health services organization, which serves Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, will host "Battling Stigma Together: Soup Cook-Off," as part of the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration Weekend Sunday, Sept. 12.

Theresa Bennett, a member of the NAMI: CV board of directors, said the event will consist of 10 local restaurants and businesses submitting entries in two categories - "Most Comforting" and "Most Unique" soups in the Champlain Valley. The fundraiser came about after Bennett and other board members were brainstorming for what could become a signature event for NAMI: CV.

"We wanted to do something that would get [NAMI: CV's] name out there as well as be a fundraiser for them," said Bennett. "It has a lot of meaning to those of us who are involved with NAMI, because it ties in so well with the mission of our organization - providing comfort and support for the mentally ill and their families and fighting the stigma that's commonly attached to people with brain disorders."

Participating businesses in NAMI: CV's inaugural soup cook-off will be Ground Round, Irises Caf and Wine Bar, Michele's Fine Dining, Great Adirondack Soup Company, Butcher Block, Cricket's Casual Food and Spirits, Gus' Red Hots, Olive Ridley's, Mangia, and Conroy Organics.

"We've actually had no trouble at all enlisting the help of restaurants," said Bennett. "I think we could have had more, but we wanted to start small, make it successful, and build on that."

Soups will be set out on tables along City Hall Place in close proximity to the other Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration activities beginning at 11:30 a.m. People will be able to buy tokens which they can use to purchase samples of the soups and to vote for ones they feel best represent each category. Samples will be served with bread donated locally by Panera Bread.

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