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No football, but still 'Souper'

January 30, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

TRI-STATE -- While many will be celebrating 43 years of the Super Bowl on Sunday, the "Souper Bowl of Caring" is having an anniversary of its own.

For 20 years, churches across the country have been piggybacking on the sports phenomenon to raise awareness and money for those less fortunate.

In the Tri-State area, a number of churches are involving their youth in the event.

At the Brownsville Church of the Brethren, the youth group has participated in the Souper Bowl of Caring effort for the past five years.

"We collected $200 for the South County Food Bank last year, and we hope to increase that amount for this year," said Carrie Jennings, one of the organizers.

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The youth will stand at the back of the sanctuary at 1911 Rohrersville Road after the Sunday service. Holding soup pots, they will encourage contributions of money.

Connor Dagenhart, 13, was involved last year when the $200 was collected. "It gave me a good feeling," he said. "I hope we do as well this year."

Twins Sara and Amanda Jennings, 13, said they liked helping kids who don't have as much. They will both be participating again this year.

"I think it will make me think about other people more," said Brandon Nokes, 16, who is involved for the first time this year.

Other churches involved in the drive include:

o St. John's Lutheran Church in Martinsburg, W.Va., which is hosting a Souper Bowl of Caring luncheon after the 11 a.m. service.

o St. Thomas' Episcopal Church in Hancock. There, the youth fellowship is holding an auction of handmade bowls and mugs along with the sale of homemade soups.

Proceeds will benefit the emergency needs fund of the Interfaith Service Coalition.

o Grossnickle Church of the Brethren, Md. 17 at Myersville, Md. The Souper Bowl of Caring is an outreach to raise money for the local soup kitchen.

Nationwide, this year marks a special event for the Souper Bowl of Caring. On Feb. 1, it will have been 20 years since the youth of Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., addressed the issue of hunger in their community with this Super Bowl Sunday prayer:

"Lord, as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us to be mindful of those without even a bowl of soup to eat."

The prayer inspired that single church to invite other congregations to join them in collecting money which was donated to local charities that provide assistance to those in need.

"The Brownsville Church of the Brethren youth are proud to be a part of this movement that begins in our own backyard and reaches across the nation, sharing God's love with those who need our compassion and care. Every penny collected will go to help our neighbors in need," Carrie Jennings said.

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