Soup for Andre House
Every year on Super Bowl Sunday, the teens of our church participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring. Many people in the congregation support their effort by donating their loose change or cash to help fight hunger. Though you may have participated, you may not know much about how this initiative came into being, so I would like to fill you in and then also share with you the impact that our money has on our community.
As the youth group of a church in Columbia, S.C., gathered to watch the Super Bowl game, their youth director began their time with a prayer, "Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those without a bowl of soup to eat." His prayer inspired the teens there that night. They decided why not use the Super Bowl weekend, when people are already gathering to have fun together, to also unify people to help feed the hungry.
Working with another local youth group, they went about collecting donations at their schools and churches and then donated every penny raised to local charities that address the hunger needs of their community. That first collection was in 1990, and since then over $81 million has been raised by teens around the country to help fight hunger in their own communities. The teens of PPC have been participating since 2003, and in that time they have raised over $11,000 that has all be donated to Andre House in order to help them feed hungry people in the valley, this year alone we raised $1,772.
Andre House's ministry began in 1984 with sharing soup with the homeless. The soup line still remains an intregal part of their service. Each day they feed between 550 and 650 individuals. Their ministry has expended well beyond the soup line though. They also provide laundry facilities, a clothes closet, access to phones, showers, lockers, transitional housing, activities for children, as well as blankets and sleeping bags for those sleeping on the street.
Now back to the soup line. Our congregation helps staff the Andre House soup line three times a month: the second Tuesday, second Thursday, and fourth Sunday. Each time, 10 volunteers head down town for an evening of touching lives and feeding bellies. They, along with other volunteers from the community, help prepare for the evening meal. They chop 50 pounds of onions, slice 1,200 slices of bread, wash lots of dishes, and stir two 30-gallon pots. But most importantly they feed hundreds of people. All of this is done with a smile and a knowledge that in doing so we are serving God.
If you haven't served at Andre House, I strongly encourage you to do so. You may find that in so doing you gain more than you give: gain a deeper understanding of the needs of our community, a deeper respect for those who walk through the doors, a deep apreciatation for efforts of non profits, and a deeper understanding of who God calls you to be.
To serve, contact Stephanie Webster at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lin Ogden at email@example.com.
“I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)