Souper Bowl event aims to impart cold, harsh lesson
There's an early kickoff for the "Souper Bowl of Caring."
The annual faith-based, nondenominational event, held the weekend of football's biggest day, the Super Bowl, is billed as the nation's largest youth-led weekend of giving.
Throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley and the nation, young people will be at church doors after services this weekend, collecting $1 for those who lack ample food or proper clothing.
Soup pots, as well as other containers, will be used to hold the money. Canned goods also are gathered at some churches.
Each church decides how donations are used. There are no administrative costs, so 100 percent of the donations reach the organization for which they are earmarked.
The Souper Bowl of Caring national office requests only that monies be reported so they can be tallied.
More than $33 million has been raised since the Souper Bowl became a national effort in 1993.
Creativity and community projects also are encouraged, which prompted the Youth Group of First (Vandergrift) and Faith (Oklahoma Borough) Lutheran churches to announce "Homeless for a Day: Will Pray for Food."
From noon-5 p.m. today, in front of First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 101 Custer Ave. in Vandergrift, the youth group will be accepting nonperishable food items and monetary donations that are to be given to St. Paul Lutheran (Vandergrift) food bank.
"It will help give local people some much-needed food, and the youth group will have a five-hour life lesson on how hard it is to go cold and hungry," says youth leader Tiffany Crawford. "Hopefully, they will take that time and think of those who go through that for weeks, even years."
Crawford says the youths are excited about the idea and have painted appliance boxes, such as that a homeless person might use for warmth, to draw the attention of passers-by.
Crawford appreciates that the project enables her group's members to apply what they have learned in church to practical life situations.
"I hope that this five hours in which they will have to go without the luxuries of TV, MP3 players, computers, game systems, junk food and comfortable temperatures will teach them -- that, when they have the opportunity to help someone that is less fortunate, they will take that time and help them," she says.