Super Bowl Sunday is rapidly approaching, a time of football, snacks, fun and soup. Yes, soup.
The day traditionally associated with football is taking on a new meaning as a day when churches across the country participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring by collecting money for their favorite charities.
The concept is simple: Parishioners drop $1 into a giant soup pot as they leave Sunday services, and the money is donated to a local charity.
The nationwide effort is coordinated by Souper Bowl of Caring’s office in South Carolina, which doesn’t collect a dime. The churches report the amount they collected and donated to a charity.
A $1 donation might not sound like much, but last year’s effort raised $1.1 million through 5,500 churches in the United States and Canada. The annual event began with a youth group in Columbia, S.C., in 1990, and the effort went national three years later.
Youth groups from a few Spokane-area churches plan to participate again this year.
The Cheney United Methodist Church youth group raised $130 for the Cheney Food Bank last year and will support the food bank again this year. The young people at Valley Baptist Church will donate the money they collect to the Valley Center Food Bank. Last year’s collection brought in $118.
The Davenport (Wash.) Presbyterian and Colville (Wash.) United Methodist churches will also raise money for charity that Sunday.
No advance registration is needed to participate in the national effort.
For more information, call (800) 358-SOUP, or visit the group’s Web site at www.souperbowl.com.
One very big heart
Heart of Hope Ministry International had simple beginnings but is small no more.
The program, which helps Romanian orphans, was begun in 1991 by Chuck Fox and his daughter, Debbie Marshall. Father and daughter traveled to Romania, where Marshall and her husband, Dan, hoped to adopt a child.
However, after returning to Vancouver, Wash., with their adopted child and grandchild, they couldn’t get the image of other suffering Romanian orphans out of their minds.
They co-founded a private home in Talamciu, Romania, to care for four children. It was the beginning of Heart of Hope.
The home now has 43 children and must turn away more children every day.
A dental clinic has been established along with a Christian library, an elderly day-care center and first-time mother’s center.
There is also a Family Sponsorship program that helps Romanian children with parents by providing living costs, food, medical care, clothing and school supplies.
Fox and Marshall will discuss their work at 6 p.m. Sunday at Northview Bible Church, 13521 N. Mill Road.