'Souper' Bowl Sunday Feeds Hungry Across The Country

While many celebrated Super Bowl Sunday with a variety of appetizers and snacks, the less fortunate faced another day of depending on the kindness of strangers to get by. Luckily, several communities across the county chose to share the wealth, raising money and food for area charities that help the poor.

The Christian Faith Fellowship Church in Hardyston, New Jersey, celebrated "Souper" Bowl Sunday. The church had requested food donations from congregants, who were given the option to deposit their cans in a New England Patriots bin or a Los Angeles Rams bin.

Nearly 4,300 cans of soup were collected, and according to the Reverend Bob Meeker, one team greatly outshone the other. "Most of the cans that were collected were for the Rams," said Meeker, pastoral care minister at the church. "It was pretty overwhelming."

Guests also enjoyed free popcorn and soft pretzels and had their picture taken in the "Football Photo Booth." The donations will be delivered to Champions for Charity, a campaign created by Sussex County Clerk Jeff Parrott that aims to restock supplies at local food pantries, which help the needy in this community in northern New Jersey.

Meanwhile in nearby Newton New Jersey, the First Presbyterian Church of Newton celebrated the annual Empty Bowls soup lunch event for Manna House, a local soup kitchen founded in 1987. The organization provides free daily meals to the homeless, elderly and disabled. Attendees at the Empty Bowls event paid $15 each for a bowl of soup served in handcrafted clay bowls designed by volunteers.

The soups included chicken noodle, vegetable, gluten-free vegetable meatball, beef barley, potato, French onion, and chili. Participants were allowed to take home the bowls with them after the lunch. The event raised approximately $1,500 for Manna House, according to Colleen Duffy, associate for family nurture at the Newton Presbyterian Church.

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The Stanhope United Methodist Church in Netcong, New Jersey, in Morris County, also held an annual food drive that included an early morning "tailgate" of snacks and games.

According to Feeding America, a non-profit organization, despite living in the world’s greatest food-producing nation, 40 million people struggle with hunger in the United States, including more than 12 million children.

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