In Brief — Jan. 21, 2005 {0233}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

In Brief — Jan. 21, 2005

Jan. 21, 2005    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0233}

An e-Review News Item

Souper Bowl of Caring targets Jacksonville

By Ronald K. Owen**

JACKSONVILLE — When thousands of football fans descend on Jacksonville for the Super Bowl Feb. 6 and millions more plan their viewing parties, youth from across the country will use the event to fight hunger and poverty in their communities. 

Standing at the sanctuary exits of churches throughout the nation, these young people will be holding large soup kettles symbolizing the purpose of their mission and collect $1 donations to be used for local charities.

Behind this mission is Souper Bowl of Caring, an outreach ministry that hopes to mobilize at least 1,000 youth and 250 churches in the Jacksonville area to collect the donations. More than 800 congregations throughout Florida are expected to participate. The goal is to raise $300,000 for charity.

During the weeks leading up to Super Sunday, youth are also encouraged to volunteer at soup kitchens, homeless shelters and food banks to better understand the needs of the community.

Because the youth who collect the money also decide which charities will receive the donations, this experience enables them to give where they feel the needs are greatest, according to the Rev. Dr. Brad Smith, Souper Bowl of Caring executive director. 

"Every penny collected goes to the charities," he said.
Smith founded the organization in 1991 in Columbia, S.C., as a church youth group project that utilizes Super Bowl weekend to inspire and mobilize youth to fight hunger and poverty. The ministry quickly gained national status and raised $4.25 million for charities last year. 

"The best part about Souper Bowl of Caring is that it's voluntary. It teaches our youth how to give of their time and talents, and the money that is collected stays in their community," he said.

In the Super Bowl host city of Jacksonville, Wayne and Delores Weaver, owners of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars, are serving as honorary chairpersons. The Jacksonville City Council recently passed a resolution declaring Feb. 5 "Souper Bowl of Caring Youth Service Blitz Day."

"Although Souper Bowl of Caring is a small step in the fight against hunger, it is a way for young people to see that they can make a difference in the lives of others," Smith said.


This news item relates to Missions.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Owen is a freelance writer based in Jacksonville, Fla.

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