‘Survivor’ Contestant Featured At Food For Your Soul Event

For many years, Sholom’s Food For Your Soul fundraiser has been an event wide open to community members of all ages. But the under 40-year-old events have always been extremely popular. While past years have had events at multiple houses – at least one on each side of the river – this year is downsizing to one event. But it’ll be a big one.

Sholom’s signature annual event will have its under-40 event at Pinstripes in Edina. While it’s relatively between the Minneapolis and St. Paul, it is a large enough venue to include as many people as want to register, without the fear of filling up and having to turn away people.

“I hosted a few years ago where there were a few options of places,” said under-40 chair Jennifer Roberts. “The real driver this year is that this is a group that needs to be engaged. Getting us all together in one place was the main thing for me.”

Roberts had hosted an under-40s event at her house a couple years ago and, although she had a full-house, it allowed people the opportunity to mingle and meet new people.

“Having this year at a larger venue will allow for more of that,” she said.

The featured celebrity at the Under 40 party is Sunday Burquest. Burquest is a Minneapolis native who was a contestant on “Survivor: Millenials vs. Gen-X.” However, prior to being on the show, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

During the yearlong treatment process, Sunday clung tightly to her family, friends, and faith for emotional support. She remained strong through it all to beat the disease. This success gave her the boldness to compete on the 33rd season of “Survivor.”

After “Survivor,” Burquest and her husband, Jeff, made the decision that she would leave her position as a young adult pastor and pursue her passion for traveling and speaking. Sunday draws on her personal experience while sharing a message of hope. She now devotes her time to sharing her inspirational message.

“My message is about overcoming setbacks and using them for positive in your life,” Berquest said. “When you face something challenging, your power gets taken from you. My message is to take the power back. It doesn’t matter what it is: Cancer, bankruptcy, divorce. The principles of getting through it are the same. Everybody’s got stuff.”

Shelli Stall Smith, who is co-chairing Food For Your Soul with Roberts, said that having one co-chair focus on the under-40 crowd is a new thing.

“It’s going to put more visibility to the event,” Smith said. “We know we have a different constituency, so we want to make sure we’re reaching out to those folks in a meaningful way.”

Roberts said that having a larger venue can make attending less scary or intense for those who haven’t been to Food For Your Soul before, or may be in a home where they don’t know other people.

“This is the next generation of donors and supporters of Sholom and we’re trying to engage them,” she said. “It’s an experiment. Last year’s attendance wasn’t as robust, so we’re trying something new.

“The draw this year is the venue and the networking opportunity. It’s a great event and a great organization to support.”