St. Charles Churches Participate in “Souper Bowl of Caring”
Three churches have turned Super Bowl hype into super help for local charities
This Sunday, the Super Bowl will be the center of attention.
Many of us will plan our weekend around Super Bowl Sunday, even if we are not fans of either the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Green Bay Packers pro football teams.
People host parties and buy new large screen, high-definition televisions that cost hundreds of dollars so that there is a great view of this one football game.
But when most of the North American continent is hyperfocused on an overhyped, overrated sporting event, a few churches in St. Charles are helping to keep attention on the needs of the hungry and hurting in this community.
Three St. Charles churches call this Sunday the "Souper Bowl of Caring." They base their activities on the vision statement found on the Souper Bowl of Caring website: “Transform the time around the Super Bowl into the nation's largest celebration of giving and serving.”
The Souper Bowl of Caring, as the website informs us, began in 1990 in Columbia, SC with a humble prayer from Brad Smith, a seminary intern. “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."
The idea was then born, the website states, to turn the Super Bowl weekend, when people are getting together for fun and football, into collecting money and nonperishiable food for people in need. All money donated would be sent directly to a charity chosen by a local group collecting the money.
Souper Bowl of Caring began as a youth movement, but it is not for children and youth only. It is an intergenerational mission opportunity.
At Faith United Methodist Church, Souper Bowl of Caring was held the Sunday before the actual Super Bowl game. The United Methodist Women (UMW) promote and collect the donations, said Teri Brecht, president of UMW.
This year, the UMW selected the Women’s Crisis Shelter to receive the Souper Bowl of Caring collection. After the 11 a.m. service Jan. 30, Brecht, Nancy Laufer and Sylvia Dollins all donned aprons, held large stainless soup pots, and with ladles in hand, stood at various sanctuary exits. Laufer had a steady stream of donations at the main sanctuary doors. Dollins stayed by the church office door and “stirred the pot” so the sound of the coins against the steel and the rustle of cash might lure more people to stop by and contribute.
The total for the day was $327.23. UMW of Faith UMC has participated in Souper Bowl of Caring since 1999 and with this year’s collection has donated $2,621.68 to local St. Charles charities.
Sixth and seventh grade Sunday school students at St. John United Church of Christ will be waiting with large cooking pots outside the sanctuary doors after both worship services Sunday, Feb. 6. St. John UCC has participated in Souper Bowl of caring since 1998 as a mission of the Board of Christian Education, said Karla Bodine, director of children’s ministries.
The members of the Board of Christian Education decided to donate the money to St. Charles Crisis Nursery this year because it helps children, Bodine said. This year, St. John UCC members are asked to donate items like diapers, wipes, new and used clothing size 2T-6.
Good Shepherd United Church of Christ is collecting cans of soup for its Souper Bowl of Caring event.
“I’ve seen from two cans to three cases brought in,“ said Rev. John Attaway, pastor of Good Shepherd UCC. The week before the collection, bowls of soup are served along with the traditional coffee and doughnuts to remind the congregation that the collection is the next week. The Salvation Army has received the canned soup donations since 2003 when Good Shepherd UCC started its involvement with Souper Bowl of Caring.
Three St. Charles churches participate in Souper Bowl of Caring in three different ways. All three reflect the basic concept of Souper Bowl of Caring: to challenge faith communities and agencies to contribute to local charities through money, food and products.
Souper Bowl of Caring takes this over-the-top weekend and brings it back to a meaningful and purposeful place: serving those in need.