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Bakery owner starts community soup night, gives back - abc27 WHTM

Lancaster County

Bakery owner starts community soup night, gives back

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ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) -

Never underestimate the power of the little things.

That's the message Center Square Bakery owner Natalie Dixon wants her patrons to remember.

As one of half a dozen kids, there were many times when money was tight while growing up, she said.

One year shortly before Christmas, when things were stretched extra thin, her family was driving home.

"I remember my mom saying, 'Oh, I wish I had a box of chocolate. I just want one nice chocolate.' But there was never money for that."

But who needs money when you have generosity?

"When we pulled up to our house, there was just bags of groceries and gifts," Dixon said. "And on the top there was a box of chocolates."

To this day, Dixon has no clue who left those chocolates. But she does know what impact it had on her.

"And 20 years [later] there's Community Soup Night -- because it does, it does stick with you," she said.

Dixon instituted soup night last week after an especially difficult day.

"I came home and was just frustrated and I said to my husband, 'Alright, tonight's the night, 'cause I need to do something to be positive again and to stop worrying about the stuff that isn't going to matter'," she said.

Soup night is Dixon's way of giving back after seeing -- and feeling -- the need in her own community.

Center Square Bakery is located on the square in Elizabethtown. Soup night runs from 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday and payment is optional.

"I don't want anybody wondering, 'Is this enough?', 'Is this not enough?' So it can be a nickel, $3, a smile, it can be anything."

And it's not just for those struggling financially.

"I want it to be if your husband is out of town and you just need the night off from cooking, if it's just [that] you're busy: a running around mom with kids at sports practices. Come here and this will give you an extra half an hour with your kids that night because you don't have to make dinner," she said.

Dixon also hopes the evening brings people together and helps do away with societal norms that keep people of different classes from interacting.

"I don't want people getting isolated in their own homes; I want them interacting more. We're all eating the same meal, and pretty much doing away with lines. I'm just not a big fan of lines."

On the soup menu last week was Baby Bella Mushroom, Ham Lentil with Leeks, and Cream of Asparagus. Dixon will announce the soups each week on her Facebook page.

In addition to running a bakery, Dixon also blogs at "A Turtle's Life for Me" and hopes to one day publish a cookbook.

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