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 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.
Last year, the Traer UMC received donations of food & cash for the food pantry housed in theirr church building. But this year, due to new operating guidelines the NE Tama Food Pantry/Bank has requested groups no longer donate actual food items - such as cans of soup! Instead their request is for cash donations to be made (or to receive personal care and paper products). Cash donations can feed many more people than single cans any way - for example: a can of soup or a can of vegetables will make 2-3 servings for one meal, but a dollar can make FIVE meals when foods are obtained through larger food banks where items are purchased for pennies on the pound!
On Feb. 2nd we will receive a special offering for the NE Tama Food Bank and wear our favorite team colors and/or apparel during worship in support and in honor of the spirit of that 1st "football and fun" Souper Bowl Sunday. Anyone wishing to make a donation to add to the congregation's should contact Pastor Kim Gates (641-777-4996) or Financial Secretary, Trisha Kennedy (319-464-7799). Offering totals will be reported on the Souper Bowl for Caring website: souperbowl.org.