- (Photo: Souper Bowl of Caring)
The countdown to Super Bowl XLI is down to one day and cities around the country are geared up for a day of football and fighting hunger.
Every year on Super Bowl Sunday, the Souper Bowl of Caring raises millions of dollars from churches, schools and other organizations throughout the nation to feed the hungry and the hurting in their local areas. Donations are collected in large soup pots labeled with the official Souper Bowl of Caring stickers.
Coming out of a more than $5 million campaign last year, the youth-led, grassroots movement has participants stationed in Houston, Texas; Columbia, S.C., for the first time; Jacksonville, Fla., and South Florida where the Indianapolis Colts will square off with the Chicago Bears.
Among the 56 groups participating in South Florida, Palm Beach County Firefighters have joined the national movement and will serve as drop-off sites for canned goods in the community. So far, the reported total number of groups joining the 2007 Souper Bowl of Caring is 164.
Houston, host of Super Bowl XXXVIII, boasts some of the largest megachurches in the area while Jacksonville, host of the following year's Super Bowl, boasts it being the financial center of the state and home to U.S. navy bases.
The Souper Bowl of Caring is fundamentally a faith initiative, according to the organization. The idea was born of a prayer and serves to love God by loving neighbors. Over $33 million has been raised since 1990 with nearly 103,000 total participating groups.
Churches, schools and other organizations can easily get involved in feeding the hungry with cash donations or canned goods drives in their own local communities through the movement's simple step-by-step instructions.
After 16 years, the Souper Bowl of Caring now has thousands of Americans joining together to meet the needs of the poor and the hungry. In the United States, 13 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet, meaning one in 10 households in the U.S. are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger, the Souper Bowl of Caring informs participants. And every fourth person standing in a soup kitchen line is a child.
"As Director of the Good Samaritan Food Bank it is great to see the churches of our community pull together to help the needy of our community and the Souper Bowl of Caring is one way the churches help us," said Sue Rhymer from Wayside United Methodist Church in Vienna, W.V. at last year's drive.
This year's Souper Bowl of Caring will also see two head coaches of faith at the sidelines. Coaches Tony Dungy of the Colts and Lovie Smith of the Bears are the first black coaches to make it to the Super Bowl. Both emphasize, along with the significance of their being African American, their faith in Jesus Christ.
Souper Bowl of Caring is an Official Community Impact Partner of the South Florida Super Bowl XLI Host Committee.