The other ‘Souper Bowl’

UMC's youth group will collect donations to feed the hungry

Courtesy of City Seeke

Come Super Bowl Sunday, Richwood United Methodist Church (UMC) in Mullica Hill will host its own Souper Bowl – of Caring.

The Sunday, Feb. 11 event to help feed the hungry will be run by the church’s youth group at the UMC’s Fellowship Hall. Proceeds will benefit Angels Outreach in Pitman.

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“We ask our congregation to bring a can of soup or other non-perishable item or donate $1 on Super Bowl Sunday, hence the name Souper Bowl of Caring,” said Church Administrator Mildred Herman. “Everything collected goes locally to a food pantry or organization that helps those in need nearby.”

The Souper Bowl of Caring is actually a national initiative that was started in 1990 by Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina, by that church’s youth group. The idea sprung from a prayer the group heard from Rev. Brad Smith.

“Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game,” the reverend asked, “help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat.”

According to the Souper Bowl of Caring website,, the church teamed with 22 other local churches in the first year of the program, collecting $5,700 for charities in the area. It would eventually lead to the Tackle Hunger nonprofit.

“They started a movement that has spread across the country and helped many people through the years,” Herman noted.

Since that first year, the events have raised $193 million, according to the website, with the money benefitting soup kitchens, meal programs and food banks. Churches, schools and other organizations have since adopted their own Souper Bowl of Caring events. Richwood UMC’s youth group began its own event years ago.

“They do an amazing job of helping those in need in our local community,” Herman said of the youth group. “I’d say each year, we usually collect around $200 and about 200 non-perishable items.”

The Richwood UMC youth group will also another hunger-relief fundraiser – the 30-hour famine – to benefit World Vision in its international work to fight hunger. The teens will voluntarily fast from Friday, Feb. 23, to the following day while also volunteering for a local food pantry.

Those interested in donating to Tackle Hunger can do so by visiting website, where they will have the option to donate whatever amount they wish at a frequency of their choosing.

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