PORTLAND — Due to the pandemic, parishes in Maine are taking different approaches to this year’s “Souper” Bowl of Caring. The annual event, always held on Super Bowl Weekend, is a weekend of giving and serving during which 100 percent of the monetary and food donations collected will be given to local charities to help tackle hunger in the community.
Traditionally, members of parishes’ youth ministry collect the donations during the weekend, but with restrictions on large gatherings in place, parishes are coming up with creative ways to still score donations in this unusual year.
At St. Michael Parish, the parish’s youth ministry is holding a chili and cornbread fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 6. Participants can select from beef chili (gluten-free), three bean chili (gluten-free), and corn bread (vegetarian). Pre-ordering is required to participate. To order and help the cause, call 207-623-8823 or visit //stmichaelmaine.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/ChiliCornbreadFundraiser. On Feb. 6, participants can pick up their orders at the hall of Sacred Heart Church, located on 12 Summer Street in Hallowell, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All proceeds will benefit local food pantries and soup kitchens.
At St. John Paul II Parish, the youth of the parish will have soup pots set up in the narthexes of the three parish churches (St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, Scarborough; St. Bartholomew Church, Cape Elizabeth; Holy Cross Church, South Portland) at the end of every weekend Mass for parishioners to donate. The parish is also offering an opportunity for those unable to attend weekend Mass to participate by mailing a check made out to St. John Paul II Parish with “Souper Bowl,” written on the envelope or in the subject line to: St. John Paul II Parish, 150 Black Point Road, Scarborough, ME 04074. Every dollar donated will go to help feed the hungry in the three communities.
Last year, youth at Good Shepherd Parish in Saco collected nearly $2,500 in donations after weekend Masses at parish churches in Saco, Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach and Lyman. This year, in light of pandemic restrictions, the youth hope to make a similar impact by promoting direct donations to several area food pantries: Biddeford Food Pantry, Stone Soup Food Pantry in Biddeford, York County Shelters Food Pantry in Alfred, Old Orchard Beach Community Food Pantry, Old Orchard Beach Food Pantry, Salvation Army Old Orchard Beach, and Saco Food Pantry.
Contact your local parish to discover if they are participating in any way this year. Since its inception in 1990, churches across America have raised well over $100 million for soup kitchens, food pantries, and other charities through the Souper Bowl of Caring.