Friday, February 3, 2012

Forget the Game, Don't Forget the Hungry: Souper Bowl for Hunger

Let's face it folks, the Eagles are not in the Super Bowl Sunday.

In fact, two teams from cities Philadelphian's love to loathe, New York and Boston, will be knocking each other around the gridiron.

How important could it be really?

More important, I think, would be ensure your neighbors have enough food to eat.

So why not make your Super Bowl Sunday about the Souper Bowl, a nationwide effort to collect food and money to buy food for those whose concern is more about the next meal than the next Super Bowl Champion?

Souper Bowl of Caring is youth across the nation working to fight hunger and poverty in their own communities around the time of the Super Bowl football game.

In the weeks leading up to or on Super Bowl Sunday, young people take up a collection (many use a soup pot), asking for one dollar or one item of food for people in need.

They give 100% of their donation directly to the local hunger-relief charity of their choice.

In 2011, more than 260,000 youth participated in Souper Bowl of Caring, collecting more than $9.5 million in dollars and food for local hunger-relief charities.

That's a total of more than $81 million collected since the movement began in 1990. This year's goal is to empower 275,000 young people to collect $11 million for charities in their communities.
From the 2011 collection at St. John's in South Pottstown

According to the Souper Bowl of Caring site, since 1996, First Church of the Brethren, 371 N. York St. in Pottstown has raised $1,493 toward this effort.

The effort there this Sunday will run from 10 to 11 a.m. (followed by a Chili Cook-Off Super Bowl Party at 5 p.m.)

Photos on the Souper Bowl of Caring site show that St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 75 E. Main St. in South Pottstown, participated last year.
A hunger play at St. John's

It could not be determined Thursday if St. John's will participate   again this year.

According to the church listings in Saturday's Mercury, these other local churches will also be participating:

  • St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 927 N. Franklin St. in Pottstown, will have its "Souper Bowl" and Hoagie Sale Saturday, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Vegetable Beef, Chicken Corn, Ham and Bean and Potato soups can be purchased for $6 per quart, as well as Italian Hoagies for $6 each.
  • Zions United Church of Christ, at Hanover and Chestnut Streets in Pottstown will make its collection on Sunday.
  • St. James Lutheran Church, 93, Kugler Road in Limerick, will collect for the Souper Bowl on Sunday and the offering will be given to the local food pantry.
  • St. Vincent United Church of Christ, 137 Ridge road in Phoenixville, will collect soup for the PACS kitchen in Phoenixville.
If you think this area doesn't need help, then you haven't spoken with the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities, which is often the recipient of such efforts.

Executive Director Barbara Wilhelmy said food supplies at the Cluster's pantry are "critically low" right now.

There has been a 25 percent increase in the number of local people looking for help putting food on their table, at the same time that money is tighter because of increased expenses as well as decreased contributions from government agencies, she said.

"The shelves are pretty bare right now," she said.

You don't HAVE to skip the Super Bowl to help the Cluster.

Liberty Tax Service, 1493 E. High St., will collect non-perishable food items Saturday, Feb. 4, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.  (They will also collect unused cell phones to be recycled to buy calling cards to send to troops overseas.)

Free pizza and drinks will be provided to those who donate, as well as door prizes and entertainment by Liberty's Lady Liberty Wavers.

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