What if just a fraction of the energy, money and attention devoted to the Super Bowl each year was channeled into a cause that helped others in need?
You’d get the Souper Bowl of Caring, an annual event that mobilizes youth to fight hunger and poverty by collecting cash and food donations.
If you think rallying young people to do a Good Turn sounds like a great fit for Scouts, you’re one step ahead of me.
In 2016, Boy Scouts of America councils made up three of the top 10 contributors to the Souper Bowl of Caring. A big high-five goes to the Mecklenburg County Council (Charlotte, N.C.); Grand Canyon Council (Phoenix) and Sam Houston Area Council (Houston).
A hat tip to Houston
The year 2017 is all about Houston. The Super Bowl of football is there, and the city is home to the headquarters of the Souper Bowl of Caring. (Though the nonprofit calls Houston home, young people in all 50 states participate.)
Last year, more than 17,000 Sam Houston Area Council Scouts and Scouters collected 192,782 pounds of food for local food banks. Officials hope this year’s collection, which takes place the day before Super Bowl LI, results in an even greater haul.
Sam Houston Area Council combined its Scouting for Food and Souper Bowl of Caring efforts into one drive in 2010. The council says it benefits from greater visibility and community participation.
Last Saturday, Scouts distributed door hangers in their neighborhoods. This Saturday, Scouts will return to those homes to collect food donations. After that, they deliver the food to local pantries.
In Houston, the Scout council is the largest Souper Bowl campaign outside of grocery stores, where shoppers are encouraged to add a donation to their cart.
Clara B. Cooper, president and CEO of the Souper Bowl of Caring, says the Sam Houston Area Council has been an ideal partner.
“Scouting empowers youth to lead communitywide efforts to address local needs such as hunger and poverty, through organizations like the Souper Bowl of Caring,” she says. “The Sam Houston Area Council has provided thousands of volunteer hours to support our cause and collected over 1.5 million pounds of food — helping those in need since joining our team in 2010. Their involvement is invaluable to Souper Bowl of Caring’s mission.”
Thanks to Shane Burks, Sam Houston Area Council marketing director, for the info and photos.