PORTLAND — On the same weekend the National Football League’s Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers meet in the Super Bowl, congregations throughout the United States will collect donations to help feed the hungry in a Souper Bowl.
The Souper Bowl began with the Youth Fellowship of a single Columbia, S.C., church in 1990. Seven years later, more than 5,400 congregations raised more than $1 million.
Last year, Maine more than doubled its participation in the event with at least 25 congregations participating. Among those was St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Orono.
For 1998, a goal of 100 congregations has been set, according to the Catholic Charities Maine Office of Social Justice and Peace. The effort is backed by Catholic Charities Maine, the Christian Civic League of Maine, the Good Shepherd Food Bank, Hand to Hand, the Maine Coalition for Food Security and the Maine Council of Churches.
Participating congregations are encouraged to place a soup pot or bowl in their gathering space on the weekend of Jan. 24-25. An announcement is made asking members to give $1 (or some other amount) as they leave worship. The funds are then given to the chosen recipient and a call is made to the national office to give information about how much was collected and who will receive the funds.
Each congregation decides which organizations will receive the funds collected. Congregations are encouraged to support their local food pantries and soup kitchens as well as statewide organizations, such as the Good Shepherd Food Bank and the Maine Coalition for Food Security.
For more information, call the Maine Coalition for Food Security at 871-8266.