Jamie Clark, Director of Communications, pulls out his black and yellow to root for the Pittsburgh Steelers, meanwhile Field Director Renee Gadson cheers on the Baltimore Ravens and Debbie Summers keeps pounding in blue for the Carolina Panthers. You'll see me in black and gold proudly wearing the New Orleans Saints jersey I wore on the night we won the Super Bowl in 2010.
The commitment, the passion and the competition is real. In cities and towns across the nation people hold the same diversified devotion and allegiance to the team they hold so dear. Week in and week out, fans follow the teams battling it out on the football field, especially looking forward to rival opponents or the rematch they have been craving since last year's loss in the playoffs. And when tensions are highest, during the playoffs and the weeks leading up to the Big Game, we witness a different kind of competitive spirit.
Souper Bowl of Caring annually unites the nation around one purpose, to tackle hunger using the energy of the Big Game. Across the nation, we observe this united effort play out in many ways.
For example, in major cities across Texas, including Houston, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth, competing grocery retailers work together to make it easy for their customers to donate cash or food at the register. The Souper Bowl of Caring campaign is one of the only times during the entire year when the grocery retailers put their competitive differences aside to stand united to #TackleHunger. And it makes a big difference, with the in-store cash and food donations totaling more than 4 million during the 2017 season. The power of a united community effort, fueled by competition, makes big plays against hunger and poverty for many communities.
Flashback to the 2016 season when the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers were preparing to face off in Super Bowl L. Places of worship in the Charlotte community challenged places of worship in the Denver community to see who could donate the most food and money to local charities through Souper Bowl of Caring. As a result, Charlotte collected nearly $600,000 in cash and food items for 107 different local charities and the Denver community increased their collection by 160% totaling over $84,000 in cash and food items.
When individuals, places of worship, schools and businesses unite to tackle hunger, the community wins. Souper Bowl of Caring participants are the true champions off the football field, setting their football differences aside to make a difference for neighbors in their community who are hungry and in need. Though we don't know which two teams will play in the Big Game each year, we can count on Souper Bowl of Caring participants across the nation to make big plays against hunger and poverty. Thanks for using your competitive spirit to grow giving and serving in your community.