February 20, 2014

​Church "Souper Bowl" Collects 4,000 Cans

BY BRYCE GRAY, editor, Lake County Leader

Reprinted with permission
of the Lake County Leader

The Seattle Seahawks
weren’t the only ones to put up big numbers on Super Bowl Sunday, as the
Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Ronan [Montana] enjoyed its most successful
“Souper Bowl” ever, collecting 4,004 cans of soup that were split between the
Bread Basket in Ronan, and Polson Loaves and Fish Food Pantry.

The charitable soup drive
has been an annual tradition at the church for the past five years, with
numbers growing steadily each time. Donations had eclipsed 2,000 units of soup
the last two years, but this year saw an unprecedented level of support.

“It was a real success,”
said church member Russ Jenkins, who helped coordinate the food drive. “This
was our fifth Souper Bowl but this year was by far our biggest year ever.”

The event was structured
as a friendly but fierce competition, with the congregation being divided into
two teams that scrambled to collect as many monetary contributions and units of
soup as possible. As it turned out, the competition was a lot more
evenly-matched than the Super Bowl itself.

“When all was said and
done, the two teams were $3.50 apart, so we called it a tie,” said Jenkins, who
added that this year’s team captains, Dale Jackson and Kevin Adams, did a great
job of motivating both sides.

“The real winner of this
Souper Bowl are the two food banks,” Jenkins pointed out. Volunteers from the
food banks certainly agreed.

This marked the first year
that the soup drive included Polson Loaves and Fish, which was very
appreciative of the donation.

“Soup is something we
don’t get a whole lot of from individual donors,” said managing director Brian
Rivers. “It’s a very nice donation because it’s wintertime and it’s a good hot
meal for kids.”

Sherri McDonald, of the
Bread Basket in Ronan, also reaffirmed the soup’s value, especially with
children in mind.

“I know our clients really
appreciate that. So that’s wonderful,” she said of the donation. “It’s a
commodity that children can fix if their parents are busy or whatever.… For
them to gather it for us is trememdous — it’ll last us into the summer.”

Jenkins extended a special
thank you to Walmart and store manager Dan DeWitt, where much of the soup was

“They helped us make this
record year possible,” said Jenkins.

Reflecting on the mountain
of soup collected, Jenkins said that the church’s giving spirit is even more
impressive when considered on a per capita basis.

“We don’t really have big
money people,” said Jenkins. “They’re such a warm-hearted church.”