Your Name: Melinda Brown
Your Group: Bayless School District
Location: St. Louis, MO
Years Participated: 3
First Year: 2014
This Year: Collected $4,279 for Affton Christian Food Pantry
How did you hear of Souper Bowl of Caring?In the fall of 2012 the Art Club students from Bayless High School toured the food pantry up the street from our school. The kids wanted to do something to fill the shelves of food pantry in our area. Working with the culinary students they developed the "Souper Bowl for Hunger" which has taken place the Friday night before the Super Bowl for the past four years. Some students were looking around on the internet for information on huger the second year they were planning the event and they came across the "Souper Bowl of Caring".
Why did you choose to join the Souper Bowl of Caring team?We thought we would participate in this national effort to raise awareness of hunger in all our communities.
What does your group do to participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring movement?The Bayless School District Souper Bowl for Hunger is a dinner and silent auction held to benefit the Affton Christian Food Pantry. The event began in 2013 as a collaborative service-learning initiative with the Bayless High School Visual and Culinary Art students utilizing their talents to increase awareness of the nutritional needs of families in our community by combining colorful hand-glazed soup bowls with home-made soups and desserts for a night of food and fun to benefit the Affton Christian Food Pantry (ACFP).
What have you found is most successful for raising cash and food items?We include the whole community in the event. Students design bowls to auction off, culinary students cater the event which drew over 300 patrons last year, students, teachers and administrators volunteer to work, the 13 churches that make up the Affton Christian Pantry contribute to auction items and marketing. The event is truly it is a community effort.
Was there any particularly meaningful or moving story from your collection you would like to share?The stories that stand out in our minds are the individual students that have significant need in their own families becoming empowered to make a difference. One such student really thrived throughout the whole process. He designed a bowl, helped in planning and participated in setup. He has never been able to attend the event as he does not have transportation to and from the evening. However, his contribution to shopping for the pantry following the event showed how uplifted and included he felt that day! He loved filling the shopping carts and loading the yellow school bus and then delivering to the pantry. You could see it in his eyes and his smile! He has always been a soft spoken, gentle giant---yet we see his creativity and compassion ignite during the entire process for this service initiative! He plans on designing a bowl again this year. We hope to find a way to get him to the event this year so he can see the community attend and support the Souper Bowl for Hunger and the Affton Food Pantry first hand.
Tell us a little about where you donate your collection to.The Affton Christian Food Pantry, now with 15 member churches, continues to adapt to meet the ever-growing need for food assistance in our area. The ACFP is a 501c3 non-profit organization which relies on donations from people just like us to feed those in need in the Affton area where our school district is located.
Are there any resources you feel Souper Bowl of Caring could develop to enhance your collection?Keep spreading the word about the hunger in our country.
What does participating in Souper Bowl of Caring mean to your group?We are making a difference to those in need. We partner with the ACFP on many projects throughout the year.
What does it mean to you?Patti and I are able to give those we teach an opportunity to learn and share their time and talents with those in need in our community.