Denise Pagel is cooking up beautiful soup.

"We usually have several kinds of soups and we have sandwiches, bar cookies, usually pop and coffee. Last year, we had as many as a dozen soups," said Pagel. She and her fellow volunteers are preparing for Chatfield United Methodist Church's (CUMC) annual Eagles Cancer Telethon benefit soup supper and silent auction, set this year for Saturday, Jan. 18.

"This is our 11th year as a church doing this and it's actually the 60th Eagles Cancer Telethon this year. It's our church fellowship and, after advertising, everything's all profit for the telethon because everything is donated by church members. It's kind of a community thing - we need the community to come and support it."

Funds raised through the church's soup and sandwich efforts are presented directly at the telethon meant to raise money for cancer research.

Pagel noted, "We take it to the telethon sometimes on Saturday, sometimes on Sunday, but we try to take the money up and get on TV because the church enjoys seeing that. Last year, our final amount was $3,474, and the year before that was about $3,300."

She elaborated that the event is an opportunity for Chatfield area residents to get out of their homes and enjoy one another's company while raising money to assist in the search for new cancer treatments.

"It's fellowship time for our congregation," Pagel added. "It's one of the missions we do and it's a local mission. People look forward to coming. We do go out and ask for donations and the other way we raise money is through people being creative."

Pagel referred to the silent auction that accompanies the meal, sharing the baskets and other items included for sale are what comes of congregation and community members' early winter brainstorming.

"It's kind of fun to see the creativity of the people in the things they donate," she said. "It's everything from things they've made to things they've bought and it's also ways of thinking differently about things, like when my cookie recipe won second place in a recipe contest. People wanted to know if they could get some cookies I'd made, and rather than charging them for the cookies, I asked if they'd donate to the Eagles Cancer Telethon dinner."

Pagel also shared that last year, the committee members made a basket of all kinds of things on the Ronald McDonald House's wish list. "We used the bids to make a donation to the Ronald McDonald House," she said. "Whoever won the bid on the basket got to choose whether they'd like to take it up to Ronald McDonald House or have us deliver it."

No matter what's on the table or up for auction, Pagel and her fellow dinner organizers, Lowell Stephas and Pat Hanson, promised a good time and a chance to lend a hand toward cancer research fundraising.

"There's always people who know someone who's been affected by cancer, so this is important," she concluded.

The CUMC soup supper is slated for Saturday, Jan. 18, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the church, located on Winona Street, as is the silent auction. Cost of the meal is by donation.

Pagel encouraged anyone who's hungry and feeling helpful to attend.