Souper Bowl of Caring

Souper Bowl of Caring
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Founder(s) Rev. Dr. Brad Smith
Headquarters
Key people President and CEO Tracy Bender
Area served North America (Some participants worldwide)
Focus(es) Hunger, Poverty, Youth Service
Website http://www.souperbowl.org

The Souper Bowl of Caring utilizes Super Bowl weekend in America to mobilize young people to fight hunger and poverty in their local communities. Its vision is to transform Super Bowl weekend (the weekend of the first Sunday in February) into America's largest youth-led weekend of giving and serving. Young people collect monetary and food donations during the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. 100% of the money and food is then given directly to local charities of the group's choice.[1]

Started at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina, the Souper Bowl of Caring has branched out to include schools, businesses and congregations of all faiths. Together, they have raised more than $50 million in monetary and food donations. In 2008 alone, more than 14,000 groups collected over $10 million.[2][3]

The Souper Bowl of Caring has gained national attention, securing partnerships with nine different NFL Teams, in addition to finding National Advocates in former President and Mrs George H.W. Bush and former President and Mrs Jimmy Carter.[4]

History

The Souper Bowl of Caring began in 1990 with a simple prayer said by Reverend Brad Smith of Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina:

22 churches raised $5,700 in the first year. The number of groups involved has steadily grown each year, and so has the amount raised and put back into the communities.[2][5]

Service Blitz

On the Saturday before the Super Bowl, Service Blitzes are held in many communities. This is a day of service in which young people from the area come together to volunteer at a local charity. This gives the participants exposure to the cause they are fighting: poverty, hunger, homelessness and injustice. Some communities sponsor local events to raise awareness, others get their youth group or club involved with a soup kitchen to have a hands-on experience.[6]

National Youth Advisory Board

Although the Souper Bowl of Caring is led by adults, the basis of the organization is its association with young people. Therefore, in 2007, a National Youth Advisory Board (NYAB) was created to bring youth ambassadors of the Souper Bowl to local communities around America. The board is composed of 15-20 high school students from around the country who serve as youth spokespersons to the media, lead and advise their respective communities, assist the Souper Bowl of Caring by providing ideas and suggestions and represent the Souper Bowl in a positive manner. Additionally, they attend two meetings to prepare for the upcoming event.[7]

References

Sources

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