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Souper Bowl Connects Kids to Their Communities

Each year, the Souper Bowl of Caring involves students as they collect millions of pounds of food to benefit local organizations. Dont miss this opportunity for your school to connect with the community during Super Bowl week. Included: Participation tips.

As the AFC and NFC champs prepare to face off in this years big Super Bowl game, school kids across the country are putting the finishing touches on their game plans for one of the biggest community events of the year -- the Souper Bowl of Caring. Last years event led kids across the country to raise more than $5 million and collect nearly 3 million pounds of food for food banks and other organizations in their communities.

The Souper Bowl of Caring is one of many community service activities students at R.B. Hunt Elementary School (St. Augustine, Florida) participate in each year. The event is a nice tie-in to the schools character education program, principal Don Steele told Education World, and it comes at a perfect time of year.

Students help to replenish our local food bank after the holiday season, he said. Last year, they collected more than 1,400 pounds of food.

Hunt Elementarys Souper Bowl event is sponsored by the schools PTO. The class that collects the most food during the week earns a pizza party reward.


A youth-led movement to fight hunger and poverty, the Souper Bowl of Caring began in 1990 with a single group in South Carolina, according to Tracy Bender, Souper Bowl communications director. By 2007, the movement had grown to include 14,000 groups participating nationwide. Those groups include many schools that participate in the organizations National Schools of Caring campaign.

The Souper Bowl of Caring introduces students to the impact of hunger and poverty in their local communities, Bender told Education World. Each participating group decides who in their community will benefit, and 100 percent of the collection goes to that charity.

Be Part of a
Souper Event

Officials of the Souper Bowl of Caring ask that participating schools register so that the national organization can track participation and the amount of money or food donations that are raised. The national Souper Bowl of Caring office does not handle donations, 100 percent of which stay in the communities where they are collected. Participation is simple:

1. Register at or call 1-800-358-SOUP.

2. Collect during the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday (January 28- February 1, 2008).

3. Report your collection totals at

4. Donate 100 percent to the charity of your choice.

The national organization provides free support materials including a how-to guide, campaign posters, stickers, and many ideas to help local groups plan and manage their events (click on one of the Folders). Schools register to be part of the campaign so the national organization can gather data about participation and the amount of food collected.

Bender has seen school students tie many unique projects to their Schools of Caring campaigns. One of most memorable events occurred in South Florida in 2007. That year, the city of Miami was host to Super Bowl XLI and a local art teacher challenged her students to decorate empty bowls. The bowls were sold to raise money.

The best part of the project is that students got to teach some of the players about their project and what they learned from it, said Bender. The students and players were featured in a segment broadcast on the CBS Super Bowl pre-game show.


Students in the PALS (Peer Assistance and Leadership) course at Clements High School (Sugar Land, Texas) orchestrated their schools participation in last years National Schools of Caring Souper Bowl event. A friendly competition between third-period classes at the school resulted in a collection of more than 3,500 cans of food to benefit the East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry, according to teacher and PALS class sponsor Robin Sparwasser.

Students were amazed at the response of the student body, Sparwasser told Education World.

At Vineland Elementary School (Miami, Florida), members of the Student Council selected the Souper Bowl of Caring as their January project. Students collected more than 1,300 cans of food for the Ronald McDonald House, said Karen Bodenhamer, a fifth-grade teacher at the school.

Everyone felt incredible when the drive was over and we realized how much we were able to collect.

The National Junior Honor Society at Mandarin Middle School (Jacksonville, Florida) sponsors a Souper Bowl of Caring canned food drive, which last year resulted in 5,400 food items for the Second Harvest Food Bank. The school is divided into teams and prizes are offered to the four teams that come closest to achieving the goal of nine food items per student, said Christen Crimmel, one of the students advisors. A bulletin board outside the schools cafeteria shows students daily progress toward the goal.

Last year, three of the winning teams brought in over 100 percent of their goal, Crimmel said.

The student body really came through and the NJHS members put in many volunteer hours, she added. We were able to donate 4,600 pounds of food to the needy in our city.

Everyone felt incredible when the drive was over and we realized how much we were able to collect.


Souper Bowl of Caring FAQs
The What You Should Know page of the Souper Bowl of Caring Web site provides answers to frequently asked questions about the program.

Map of Participation
This U.S. map illustrates how many communities have benefited from the Souper Bowl of Caring.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
Copyright © 2010 Education World

Originally published 01/14/2008
Last updated 12/31/2009