Before The Super Bowl, Help The Souper Bowl

By on February 2, 2014

Souper-BowlYou know about the Super Bowl, but do you know about the Souper Bowl? The Souper Bowl of Caring that is.

This organization has been using the Super Bowl as a way to getting people involved in helping those in need.

As their website says:

A simple prayer: “Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat” is inspiring a youth-led movement to help hungry and hurting people around the world.”

This prayer, delivered by Brad Smith, then a seminary intern serving at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, gave birth to an idea. Why not use Super Bowl weekend, a time when people come together for football and fun, to also unify the nation for a higher good: collecting dollars and canned food for the needy? Youth could collect donations at their schools and churches in soup pots, and then send every dollar DIRECTLY to a local charity of THEIR choice.

The senior high youth of Spring Valley Presbyterian liked the idea so much they decided to invite other area churches to join the team. Twenty-two Columbia churches participated that first year, reporting their results so a total could be determined, and then sending all $5,700 they had raised to area non-profits.

That was 1990. Since then, ordinary young people have generated an extraordinary more than $90 million for soup kitchens, food banks and other charities in communities across the country. In addition, hundreds of thousands of youth have experienced for themselves the joy and satisfaction of giving and serving, inspiring people of all ages to follow their generous example.

This is something that my church has been participating in for many years. But this is not about religion. It’s about helping And doing something so simple and yet so meaningful.

Again, from the organization’s website:

We believe:

  • The idea for Souper Bowl of Caring is a gift from God
  • Young people have the ability to serve and should be given opportunities to lead their communities in helping others
  • Every dollar collected through Souper Bowl of Caring should be donated directly to a charity selected by each participating group
  • People of all backgrounds and beliefs can work together (my emphasis, not theirs)
  • Hunger and poverty have a negative impact on individuals and the communities in which they live, yet there is joy in serving and giving to those in need

The excitement and energy surrounding the Super Bowl can be used to engage young people in service while producing lasting hope for all people.

Working together, kids of all ages, races and religions are making a difference. Before the “big game” I encourage you to check out the organization’s website (http://www.souperbowl.org/). Even one can of soup can make a big difference in a hungry person’s life.

This story was first published on Beth Shorten’s blog. Several Verona houses of worship are participants in the Souper Bowl of Caring, including Calvary Lutheran Church, Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, First Congregational Church, Our Lady of the Lake Church, and The First Presbyterian Church of Verona.


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