When the Broncos square off against the Panthers in California this weekend, youth at churches around the country will be taking part in a “Souper Bowl,” too.
The Souper Bowl of Caring is held on Super Bowl Sundays. Youth, often carrying soup pots, collect donations to be donated to local food programs.
That’s what will be happening at First Presbyterian Covington on Sunday, Feb. 7. Youth Connection kids will stand at the doors of the church with soup pots to collect money for the community food pantry on Turner Lake Circle.
It will be the 15th year the youth at the church have collected money on Super Bowl Sunday, said Dan Walden, Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries.
“Under leadership previous youth pastor, we became involved with Souper Bowl of Caring,” he said. “It’s an idea that start with [the Spring Valley] Presbyterian Church group in Columbia, South Carolina. Their idea is that on this day, when the nation gathers and celebrates this big game, and we have all this food, we might remember those who don’t have food.”
Walden said for the middle and high school students involved in the church’s Youth Connection the Souper Bowl of Caring is “specifically one of their ministries.
“One of the things we do each year is gather for a Super Bowl party,” he said. “We try to make sure our ministries for our young people have a balance of fellowship, mission and worship. If we’re going to get together for fellowship, we want to make sure we have a mission element. This Souper Bowl of Caring party is a way to do that. We want to remind folks that this is an outreach effort. It’s an offering above and beyond their commitment to the church in other ways.”
First United Methodist Church in Covington will weave the Souper Bowl of Caring collection into the church’s youth-led worship services. Children, from kindergarten through 5th grade age, serve as ushers, lead prayers, light candles and take the offering.
This year, the offering will be part of the Souper Bowl of Caring, with proceeds benefitting the local Action Ministries efforts to work with community partners to relieve hunger, homelessness and poverty. Souper Bowl of Caring funds will go towards the purchase of easily-prepared food items that can be slipped into the backpacks of children who might otherwise go hungry over the weekend.
“Here in Newton County, Super Packs have grown in popularity and people are really getting passionate about the need for this in our community,” said Tamara Richardson, Area Director for Action Ministries. “It’s hitting people’s heartstrings [as the realize] the need of children hungry.”
Elizabeth Holcomb, Hunger Relief Coordinator at the church said she and Pamela Consuegra, Kidmin Director, the church’s children’s program, talked. “What better way to tie in the Souper Bowl of Caring and Action Ministries and the Super Packs. Since it’s going to be for the children of the county, we thought it was a great tie in with the children’s led service. “
Holcomb said the children have been told about the Super Packs, where they go and how they help the children in the county. “The kids have actually packed lunches for the Smart Lunch, Smart Kids [program] for Action Ministries.”
“Pamela has made a concerted effort to talk about hunger and the reality of it in our community,” said Richardson. “The children in the church have an understanding of hunger in the community. The children-led worship brings it full circle.”
Richardson said there will be several Super Packs on display at the kneeling rail during the service on Sunday, Feb. 7.
“I imagine there are many churches in the community that take part in [the Souper Bowl of Caring,” Walden said. “Kids are always excited to put their faith into action. Some kids aren’t comfortable getting up and speaking in front of a congregation, but all kids are comfortable with holding a soup pot and accepting donations, and smiling and thanking people [for their donations].”
Walden said Youth Connection collections during the Souper Bowl of Caring typically run between $800 and $1,000.
Founded in 1990, the Souper Bowl of Caring has grown and is held at churches and community organizations nationall. In the weeks prior to Super Bowl Sunday, youth collect money or food items for people in need and give 100 percent of their donations directly to a local hunger-relief agency.
According to the organization’s web site, in 2012, more than 10,000 groups collected more than $9.8 million in dollars and food for local hunger-relief charities.
For more information on the Souper Bowl of Caring, visit the web site at https://souperbowl.org/ Ministries is encouraging people who are having Super Bowl Sunday parties to consider making a donation through Action Ministries’ GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/AMISouperBowlCov.
Those wanting to contribute to Youth Connection’s Souper Bowl of Caring fundraiser can send donations to the First Presbyterian Church Covington, 1169 Clark Street, S.W., Covington, Ga. 30014, or drop off donations at the church.