On Super Bowl Sunday, students and members of the collected food items and donations for the needy and hungry on a day when food is at an overabundance.
One hundred and one freshmen and sophomores participated in the Souper Bowl of Caring on Sunday morning in Rocky Hill. The national organization works with churches and youth organizations throughout the country to collect food items for the less fortunate. As of 2012, 692 groups generated $3,249,374 in cash and food items from local charities nationally during the Souper Bowl of Caring.
“The premise is that there is such abundance of food on Super Bowl Sunday that there is people without even a bowl of soup to eat,” said Carol Rizzo, one of the event organizers. "It feels great to give back on a day when so many people will have parties with abundant food and commercials on the Super Bowl cost 3 million dollars or more."
The students who are all part of the conformation program collected 3,996 food items and $2,482.
"It was unbelievable. It was just amazing," Rizzo said. The parish members also contributed about $1,000 over the three services for a total of about $3,000.
"This year just blew me away and literally brought me to tears," she said. "Last month we used up the last drop of food and money that we collected last year and there are still many cold months left to feed the homeless."
Sunday’s fundraiser was the fourth time that St. James Church has participated in the national event. Last year, the fundraiser brought in 2,366 food items and $1,698.29, which were donated to the Immaculate Conception Housing Corp and McKinney Shelter.
“We feed over 250 'very hungry' men each month and could not do it without this fundraiser,” Rizzo said.
In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, the students collected food and monetary donations in a friendly competition between the sophomores and freshmen. The students collected money in a coffee can with the Souper Bowl of Caring logo on it.
The food items collected by the students were the following:
- Tomato Sauce
- Peanut Butter Crackers
- Pudding Cups
- Chap Stick.
The students, who wore football jerseys or sports attire, presented the food and donations to the church during the 9:30 a.m. mass. The students were treated to breakfast and played a Super Bowl themed game while the votes were tallied.
A trophy presentation was held after the donations were counted and the sophomores won the competition by 104 points. There are 40 sophomores and 61 freshmen in the program.
Confirmation directors Rizzo, Darlene Ferguson and Niki Bordieri run the group with support from pastor Father David Baranowski. He "allows us hold out our soup pots after Sunday services to collect dollars from the parishioners as they leave church," Rizzo said. About 25 parents helped serve breakfast and count the food items, she added.