McLouth’s Souper Bowl has super results
by Dennis Sharkey
The United Methodist Church in McLouth broke records this year in conquering hunger locally.
Each year the church holds a three-week rally that ends on Super Bowl Sunday to collect cans of soup for area food pantries.
Organizer Dee Turner said collections average about 2,900 cans each year for the church of about 80 members. This year the church increased collections by about 15 percent for a total of 3,329 cans.
“I was personally very surprised knowing that the economic times have hit McLouth too,” Turner said. “We apparently must be a pretty competitive church.”
Turner said media reports about the need for donations at food pantries raised awareness that may have contributed to the increase.
“I think everybody was well aware that there was a high need,” Turner said.
Turner said the church divided into two teams and rallies were held each Sunday for donations. Each team had a coaching staff and was tasked with rallying church members each week to donate.
Extra points could also be earned by submitting written devotionals for the Lenten season or something simple as wearing a name tag.
Rookie coach Joy Murr’s team won the competition by collecting 1,724 cans.
Her coaching staff was made up of her family. She said the spark plug for her team was her 10-year-old granddaughter Sydny Murr, a McLouth elementary student.
Murr said Sydny got the team motivated through speech. She told team members that “No matter who wins or loses everybody wins because the soup goes to the food pantries.”
“She really had the hard and fast line of why we’re doing it,” Murr said.
Murr said her church has a lot of fun with the event but it also gives church members a way to affect the lives of other community members.
“We often see hunger as a little child in a third world country on the news,” Murr said. “It could be somebody you pass everyday in the post office.
“Everybody wants to help somebody in need,” Murr added. “Our little family in McLouth isn’t going to travel to somewhere like Haiti and help. This is a way to help on a local level.”
Turner said the runner-up team, led by Ron Fowler, was forced to sing a song in front of the church for coming in second.
“We don’t have any losers,” Turner said. “There are no losers in the Souper Bowl. We had a lot of fun for a good cause.”
Fowler’s team, the Holy Rollers, collected 1,605 cans.
The cans were all loaded up and delivered on Friday. Church members had six stops in total that ended in Topeka at the Ministry of Fellowship and Faith. Along the way members stopped at the First Baptist Church of McLouth, Church of the Nazarene in McLouth, First United Methodist Church in Oskaloosa, God’s Storehouse in Meriden and the Good Shepherd Thrift Shop and Food Bank in Tonganoxie.
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