Souper Bowl of Caring: Hunger Has No Offseason
June 22, 2020
The Souper Bowl of Caring is proud to be the newest member in the Alliance to End Hunger. For 30 years, our organization has been asking, “What if everyone who watches the Big Game would give just one can or one dollar to their local hunger relief charity?” In 1989, then pastoral intern, Rev. Dr. Brad Smith, said a prayer at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church on the annual Big Game Sunday that encouraged youth to take action, “Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat.”
Since 1990, with the support and leadership of over two million youth, Souper Bowl of Caring campaigns have supported hunger relief charities with over $163 million worth of cash and food. When a group participates in our efforts to “tackle hunger,” they are given resources including campaign posters, lesson plans, skits, and soup pot labels to make sure their campaign will be successful. We ask groups to host a campaign and donate all their collection to whatever hunger related charity they choose and report to us what they have done.
Right now, our team is working on a mission-driven technology that will allow groups who wish to support hunger relief to know where their local charity lives. The new “Tackle Hunger Map” will allow anyone who visits our tacklehunger.org website to see where their local charities are and what food items they need in real time so they can respond to those localized needs. Our goal is that each church and group in our country will find a local food charity where they can become a support. Hunger relief is “bigger than the bowl” and we want this to happen all year long. Grassroots efforts such as Souper Bowl of Caring and many others within the Alliance to End Hunger membership work hard to support local efforts to tackle hunger. The “Tackle Hunger Map” should be used by everyone to see where help is needed and to encourage groups to respond to those needs as quickly as possible.
During our traditional campaign, nothing comes back to our small, national organization (we have only three employees, only one is full time). Because of that, it has not always been easy to find ways to create a sustainable business model to keep Souper Bowl of Caring running at a consistent speed. But God’s Grace continues to inspire groups to participate and many will make small, but pivotal donations to our work. And, because churches make up the majority of those participating in our “official” annual campaign, we know that our small mustard seed of an idea will live on much longer than any of us who are proud to support it.
To learn more about our impact, go to our website at tacklehunger.org or call me. We are currently looking for help to encourage participation in our campaign and the use of our Tackle Hunger Map, which will be online in early July, and for corporations who might wish to support our work. Our campaign has benefitted over 8,000 charities in its history. Those charities include large food banks, including Houston Food Bank where this year our campaign created over $2.6 million for the Greater Houston area food charity network. This year, the donations from Souper Bowl of Caring campaigns were critical to food banks’ ability to respond quickly to emergency needs due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. We want our Tackle Hunger Map to encourage everyone to notice and respond to the significant needs of our food charities and support our neighbors in need. Isn’t that God’s Greatest Commandment?