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Everyday Greatness: Soup of Success - Guideposts
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Everyday Greatness: Soup of Success

Betsy Ayrea Delfine is the director of an Elkhart, Indiana, organization that empowers marginalized women to change their own lives, supported by the sale of soup mixes.

Betsy Delfine, director of Soup of Success; photo by Matthew Gilson
Credit: Matthew Gilson
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WHO SHE IS Betsy Ayrea Delfine of Elkhart, Indiana, developed Soup of Success in 1997 and directs it to this day. The faith-based nonprofit teaches critical life skills to Elkhart County women through an intensive 20-week program, which is focused in part on learning the business of selling soup across the United States.

Betsy is passionate about helping women; working in a domestic violence shelter, she had grown disillusioned that her clients often had to choose between going on welfare or returning to an abusive relationship. Then came this opportunity to empower women. “God definitely led me here,” she says.

WHAT SHE DOES Betsy leads a staff of seven, four of whom are graduates of the program. The team works with each class of 8 to 12 women in what is essentially a paid ($11 an hour) part-time job, requiring a 22½-hour weekly commitment. Kathy Peterson, program manager, designs and oversees the curriculum.

In addition to learning to run the business, the women take stock of their personal strengths and weaknesses, including motivation, trust, networking and spirituality. They meet regularly with program counselor Sue McDonald. Before graduating, each woman researches and presents three potential career paths to the class.

“One hundred percent leave feeling more hopeful,” Betsy says. “Everyone’s lives are bettered. It’s incredible how increased self-confidence, support and hope can make the difference between a wish and an achieved goal, which makes a huge difference in quality of life.”

WHY SHE DOES IT As a young woman, Betsy was in an unhealthy relationship. “I made good grades and was popular, but I learned how one relationship can totally affect how you see yourself,” she says. She felt called to help other women. “It bothers me how many can’t see a future for themselves.” The first soup mix was named Ruth’s Five Bean Soup after the biblical woman admired for her devotion.

HOW SHE DOES IT Sales of soup and a variety of other products fund the program. There are six varieties of soup, including the best-selling farmhouse chicken noodle. All-natural ingredients are bought in bulk, and the women spend nearly half their time in production. Working together is key to building teamwork and accountability. The mixes can be found in more than 330 specialty stores across 42 states.

HOW YOU CAN DO IT To buy mixes online, go to soupofsuccess.com. Soups cost $7.99. You’ll also be able to find retail locations in your area. Production manager Rachel Johnson is a testament to the difference a purchase makes. The mother of three graduated from the program in 2016. Today Rachel helps other women learn to believe in themselves. “To see myself as a source of support and encouragement is amazing!” she says.

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