Local churches plan Souper Bowl of Caring events

January 24, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

The youth of Hagerstown's Haven Lutheran Church have spent the last six Super Bowl Sundays passing soup bowls instead of footballs.

Known as Souper Bowl of Caring, the event trades on the name recognition value of the game to encourage people to donate money for those less fortunate in their communities.

"Last year, our young people raised $224.60," said the Rev. Torben Aarsand, pastor of Haven. "We're hoping and praying for another successful Souper Bowl this Sunday, with God's help."


The proceeds will go to REACH, which operates the Cold Weather Shelter. REACH stands for Religious Efforts to Assist and Care for the Homeless.

Last year, 12,500 churches, congregations, schools and businesses representing all 50 states and Canada raised $3.5 million through Souper Bowl to help hungry and hurting people.

At Haven, the middle and senior high youth will stand at the doors of the sanctuary with soup pots in their hands, said Aarsand, who has headed up the annual activity since he came to Haven Lutheran.

About 15 young people are involved in youth activities there.

The Souper Bowl of Caring encourages people to give $1 or more, or food items as they leave worship on Super Bowl Sunday.

The money and any food collected is sent directly to a charity selected by each group.

The youth count the money and report the amount of their collection via the Internet or over the phone on game day. This enables the national totals to be determined even though all the money stays local.

A number of other Tri-State area churches are participating this year:

  • The junior high group at Brownsville Church of the Brethren is conducting a Souper Bowl of Caring drive at the church this Sunday.

  • A Souper Bowl luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Mt. Nebo United Methodist Church in Boonsboro.

    The luncheon will include soup, sandwiches and desserts. All proceeds will offset the transportation costs incurred by the St. Andrew potato project, which collects donated produce from farmers across the country to distribute to food banks and other agencies that feed the hungry.

  • Young people at Stone Bridge Church of the Brethren in Hancock are again planning to participate in Souper Bowl of Caring.

    "We raised about $40 last year and took in some canned food, too," Peggy Strite said.

  • The youth of the Waynesboro (Pa.) Church of the Brethren at 117 S. Church St. will hold a luncheon Sunday following the 10:40 a.m. service. All proceeds go to hunger relief organizations.

  • In 2002, a total of 21 Jefferson County, W.Va., congregations held Souper Bowl of Caring drives. This year, the project is in full force again, according to Jane Bowers of Jefferson County Ministries.

Anyone not approached at church Sunday in Jefferson County may mail donations to Jefferson County Community Ministries Inc., 238 W. Washington St., Charles Town, WV 25414.

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