DEAR ABBY: Several years ago, you graciously told your readers about the Souper Bowl of Caring. Your column was a catalyst providing a great boost for this simple, but significant, effort of caring and unity.
The Souper Bowl of Caring is a grassroots movement that encourages churches and synagogues to invite parishoners to give $1 each as they leave worship the morning (or weekend) of the big game, Jan. 30. Youth stationed at sanctuary exits collect the dollar donations in large soup kettles, then send the proceeds directly to a local soup kitchen, food bank or other charity chosen by that congregation. That's it!
Abby, we believe this idea is a gift from God. It was born of prayer and first kicked off by the youth of a single South Carolina church in 1990. Last year, more than 11,300 congregations together generated $2.5 million for worthy charities in communities across the country. The effort has raised an aggregate of $7 million for hungry and hurting people since it became national in 1993.
Organizers don't touch the money, nor do we tell participants where to send the funds. We ask only that someone from each participating group report the amount collected via www.souperbowl.org or by calling (800) 358-SOUP (7687) on Super Bowl Sunday, so that the grand total can be determined and announced to the media.
Our dream is to see 20,000 churches, synagogues and the like encourage members to join together in loving God and neighbor by giving $1 each as they leave services (or school) on Super Bowl Sunday, Jan. 30, 2000. -- THE REV. BRAD SMITH, COLUMBIA, S.C.
DEAR BRAD SMITH: I love the concept -- considering that the amount of each donation is such a small fraction of the amount of money that is going to be changing hands that day. I hope all my readers will encourage their congregations, schools, offices or businesses to participate. By giving $1, everyone will be a winner during Super Bowl 2000.