Your Name: Shawna Hooper
Your Group: Mount Zion AME Church New Brunswick YPD
Location: New Brunswick , NJ
Years Participated: 1
First Year: 2014
How did you hear of Souper Bowl of Caring?In 2009 when I was elected director of our Young People's Department I was provided a list of annual mission projects that our church participates in and Souper Bowl of Caring is one of them. When I realized there was a national website I registered my group.
Why did you choose to join the Souper Bowl of Caring team?One of the most important components of our Ministry is Mission Work. Souper Bowl of Caring is one of our most popular mission projects. It's annual and very consistent and our method appeals to the many football fans in our congregation.
What does your group do to participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring movement?The Mount Zion AME YPD Souperbowl of Caring begins during the NFL playoffs in January of each year. The youth break up into groups and each group is responsible for a playoff team donation bucket. We compete for the most non-perishable and monetary donations. As each NFL team is eliminated the groups merge with a contender until we are down to 2 teams on Souper Bowl Sunday. On Souper Bowl Sunday we have what we call a blitz! The two groups rally for their teams during our Sunday Service and solicit as many last minute donations as possible. Our leadership, The Revs.Eric and Myra T. Billips, allot a time during Sunday Service for the two teams to collect a special offering from the congregation. In preparation we ask the congregation to wear NFL attire and even if your favorite team did not make it to the Superbowl we ask you to support the team geographically closest. The team with the most donations is usually the team that wins the Super Bowl later that evening with the exception of 2015 and the Seattle Seahawks interception.
What have you found is most successful for raising cash and food items?Energy and total participation. NFL fans are hardcore. They mean business but when they understand that all of this fun is for charity everyone is all in.
Was there any particularly meaningful or moving story from your collection you would like to share?Our Youth decorate 55 gallon Rubbermaid totes with team paraphernalia and we were blessed to be able to donate 4 full tubs to Elijah's Promise Soup Kitchen, New Brunswick, NJ. Monetarily we collected an estimated $400.00 which was converted to grocery store gift cards which we donate to our local Ronald McDonald House.
Tell us a little about where you donate your collection to.Elijah's Promise is a shelter/food bank/soup kitchen just steps from our front door. We always donate the non-perishable food items to them in order to assist with their tireless efforts to feed the less fortunate. All monies collected are converted to grocery store gift cards and given to our New Brunswick Ronald McDonald House for the families that need their services. We understand that different households have different diets etc. So to be given a token to go to the store and at least assist families in accommodating their needs while staying away from home in order to be near a hospitalized loved one is the least we can do.
Are there any resources you feel Souper Bowl of Caring could develop to enhance your collection?NFL printable paraphernalia, collection containers
What does participating in Souper Bowl of Caring mean to your group?It means Help, Mission, Accomplishment an d Commitment to a cause greater than ourselves.
What does it mean to you?Although celebration comes when the team with the most donations win. It moves me when I remind the youth that they did this for someone who really needed this and had fun doing it.