REED CITY - The numbers of pastors was up, the number of partakers was down.

The number of chili and soups to sample was up, the numbers of donations was down.

But Pastor Dawn Pooley of St. Paul Lutheran Church, host church this year, said it was still a wonderful success.

And the winner was, drum roll please, Pastor Ed Raby of the Congregational Church in Hersey.

There were nine different offerings of chili and soup, the latter of which was “legalized” this year.

A total of $826 was raised through donations of the 91 people in attendance Friday night. This year’s event was held a month earlier than usual. Last year 131 attended. Pooley said a couple of the regular participants were away this time.

She said that the food was excellent, “and the dessert table was in a sense like gourmet. It was wonderful.”

Love, INC of Wexford and Osceola will receive the donations. “We do a fundraiser each year and we include Wexford, because we sort of piggy-back our local Love INC in them since we don’t have enough churches here in Osceola County to do it alone,” she explained.

She noted that some of the area churches do put Love INC right in their budgets, and this area she believes serves more clients than Wexford.

In addition, the Higher Ground program is offered locally through Love INC, offering entire families a nice dinner, followed by workshops for the parents, and activities for their children.

Each family, as well as the children attending, earn gift cards entitling them to spend them at the end of the evening on such things as clothing, household cleaning items, food items, and even toys for the children.

Children are encouraged to attend, Pooley said. Deb Booher is the director of Higher Ground. The event is offered weekly on Monday in Cadillac, and in Reed City each Wednesday at the Nazarene Church.

Supper is served at 5:45 p.m., workshops are at 6:15, and shopping is at 7:15.

Anyone is invited to come at anytime, she said. Once this session ends, others are planned.