Written by Gayle Elizabeth Starling
There's another bowl besides the NFL's Super Bowl that's played every year, and it benefits people across the country: the Souper Bowl of Caring.
Founded in 1990 by Brad Smith, his "game plan" has always been to draw in youth groups from as many denominations as possible, and have them collect money and/or cans of soup from members of their congregations on the day of the Super Bowl.
The money and soup is sent directly to the charity of their choice.
Recipients range from soup kitchens to food banks, from international missions to Habitat for Humanity affiliates. Recently, schools and businesses have joined in the giving.
At press time, more than 500 UCC churches had called in their stats from Jan. 26, reporting more than $150,000 in donations.
"Over 120,000 kids participated in this year's Souper Bowl of Caring," says Smith. "This year our ÔSouper Bowl Blitz' was extremely successful."
The Blitz is an initiative started in 2000 in which youth groups serve, hands-on, at a soup kitchen, food bank or other charity.
"The idea is to serve and generate money," Smith says. "It's a wonderful synergy to know young people all over the country, from different denominations, are putting God's name in action on that Super Bowl weekend."
This year a pesky "glitch" in the form of the SQL slammer virus, invaded the computer system. Smith is asking participants to double check their reports in the database by logging on to www.souperbowl.org or by calling him at 800-358-7687.