Church "Souper Bowl" Collects 4,000 Cans
BY BRYCE GRAY, editor, Lake County Leader
Reprinted with permission of the Lake County Leader
The Seattle Seahawks weren’t the only ones to put up big numbers on Super Bowl Sunday, as the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Ronan [Montana] enjoyed its most successful “Souper Bowl” ever, collecting 4,004 cans of soup that were split between the Bread Basket in Ronan, and Polson Loaves and Fish Food Pantry.
The charitable soup drive has been an annual tradition at the church for the past five years, with numbers growing steadily each time. Donations had eclipsed 2,000 units of soup the last two years, but this year saw an unprecedented level of support.
“It was a real success,” said church member Russ Jenkins, who helped coordinate the food drive. “This was our fifth Souper Bowl but this year was by far our biggest year ever.”
The event was structured as a friendly but fierce competition, with the congregation being divided into two teams that scrambled to collect as many monetary contributions and units of soup as possible. As it turned out, the competition was a lot more evenly-matched than the Super Bowl itself.
“When all was said and done, the two teams were $3.50 apart, so we called it a tie,” said Jenkins, who added that this year’s team captains, Dale Jackson and Kevin Adams, did a great job of motivating both sides.
“The real winner of this Souper Bowl are the two food banks,” Jenkins pointed out. Volunteers from the food banks certainly agreed.
This marked the first year that the soup drive included Polson Loaves and Fish, which was very appreciative of the donation.
“Soup is something we don’t get a whole lot of from individual donors,” said managing director Brian Rivers. “It’s a very nice donation because it’s wintertime and it’s a good hot meal for kids.”
Sherri McDonald, of the Bread Basket in Ronan, also reaffirmed the soup’s value, especially with children in mind.
“I know our clients really appreciate that. So that’s wonderful,” she said of the donation. “It’s a commodity that children can fix if their parents are busy or whatever.… For them to gather it for us is trememdous — it’ll last us into the summer.”
Jenkins extended a special thank you to Walmart and store manager Dan DeWitt, where much of the soup was purchased.
“They helped us make this record year possible,” said Jenkins.
Reflecting on the mountain of soup collected, Jenkins said that the church’s giving spirit is even more impressive when considered on a per capita basis.
“We don’t really have big money people,” said Jenkins. “They’re such a warm-hearted church.”
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