COLUMBIA – This weekend, Columbia churches will be celebrating the Super Bowl by participating in the Souper Bowl of Caring.
A total of 26 churches in the Columbia area will be collecting nonperishable food and money to benefit the Central Missouri Food Bank.
There are twice as many organizations participating this year as there were last year, said Mark DeSantos, the marketing director for the Central Missouri Food Bank. Last year, the Central Missouri Food Bank collected 16,662 pounds of food.
The Christian Fellowship Church will be holding a fundraiser for the Central Missouri Food Bank after services on Sunday with a goal to raise $500. The soup-judging contest will feature three categories: chowders, broth-based and chili/bean soups. The judging will begin at 11:30 a.m. Soup can be purchased for $1 a cup or $5 for a cup of a winning soup. All proceeds go to the Central Missouri Food Bank.
Members of the Missouri United Methodist Church will collect food in their parking lot Sunday morning to load onto the food bank truck. The church has been handing out grocery bags for church members to fill and bring on Sunday morning.
"We have have always thought of the Super Bowl, the football game, as Souper Bowl," said Diana Mooney, a member of the MUMC. Mooney added the church has been participating in the Souper Bowl for decades.
Members of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church are also participating. It is their high school youth group's first service project of the year and they have placed baskets around the church to collect from parishioners.
The Souper Bowl of Caring is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 by Brad Smith, who was serving as a seminary intern at Spring Valley Presbyterian in Columbia, S.C. Twenty-two churches raised $5,700 that year.
The organization relies on youth groups around the nation to raise money and collect nonperishable food items for nonprofit organizations of their choice. Since 1990, participants in Souper Bowl of Caring have raised $50 million.
To help the Central Missouri Food Bank, call 1-800-764-3663.