A simple prayer inspired youth at a church in Columbia, SC to stand at church exits with soup pots, asking members to donate $1 each as they left worship on Super Bowl Sunday. That was 1990. Since becoming a national event in 1993, Souper Bowl of Caring has generated $20 million for the hungry and hurting across America.
Souper Bowl of Caring has become a growing and dynamic youth-led ministry. This grassroots, faith-based crusade against hunger is a simple movement filled with love. Every penny collected is sent directly to the soup kitchen, food bank, or other charity of each participating group’s choice. None of the money collected from the Souper Bowl offering comes to Souper Bowl Headquarters. Funds to cover administrative, printing and mailing costs are raised by Souper Bowl organizers through donations from businesses, charitable trusts, churches and individuals.
The Saturday before the big game, young people across the country are also asked to serve in their local communities as part of a national Service Blitz that is teaching youth and impacting lives around the world. Last year more than 10,000 young people put the Lord’s love in action and made a difference in their respective communities by serving in food banks, soup kitchens and other charities across the country.
The Souper Bowl began in a Senior High Youth Fellowship, and it continues to enable young people to see that, by the grace of a Higher Power, they can make a difference in the world. With the Souper Bowl, young people are involved in collecting donations and deciding where the proceeds will be sent.
In an age when division and dissension tear at the fabric of our society, Souper Bowl of Caring illustrates the wonderful possibilities that exist when we move beyond ourselves and work together in partnership with others. To manifest this partnership, Souper Bowl organizers ask participants to report their collection on game day. Totals are determined and announced to the media, on the Web site and in a follow-up newsletter.
Organizers firmly believe that this simple but significant movement is a gift from God. The Souper Bowl is fundamentally a faith initiative, as the idea was born of a prayer. However, schools, businesses, and other people of good will are encouraged to participate. All are welcome to join young people in this partnership of caring.
The Souper Bowl asks for only a dollar and, if participants wish, one non-perishable item. People may choose to give more, but organizers only ask for a dollar to illustrate the miraculous results when enough people give just a little. Simple though it is, this youth-led movement has the potential to transform Super Bowl weekend into a time of unprecedented caring, compassion and unity.