Kids help the hungry, ‘Souper Bowl’ style
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Friday, Feb. 07, 2014

Kids help the hungry, ‘Souper Bowl’ style

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/04/15/08/Fxq7T.Em.138.jpeg|421
    - MARCIA MORRIS
    Seahawks-fan coach Eric Laws and kindergarten fan David Gadd, left, and Broncos-fan coach Corey Cochran and fan Gabe Smith with shopping carts filled with canned goods for the Mount Pleasant Food Ministry. The cans were donated by Mount Pleasant Elementary School students during their weeklong “Souper Bowl” competition.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/02/04/15/08/1oNSN.Em.138.jpeg|237
    - MARCIA MORRIS
    Kindergartners David Gadd, left, and Gabe Smith show their support for the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, respectively, as well as their excitement about the cans collected for Mount Pleasant Elementary School’s “Souper Bowl” food drive.

For many, the Super Bowl already is a distant memory – except, perhaps for the extra pounds gained from all those wonderful snack foods.

But for some hungry people, the lingering effects of the big game will be felt for weeks to come, thanks to students at Mount Pleasant Elementary School.

During the week leading up to the NFL’s Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, Mount Pleasant Elementary held its own “Souper Bowl” party.

Students were invited to bring in cans of soup or other canned items used to make soup to donate to the Mount Pleasant Food Ministry. The local pantry provides assistance to thousands of people each year.

As an incentive, students could vote for their favorite Super Bowl team with each donation by placing the canned goods in one of two collection boxes in each classroom – one for the Denver Broncos and one for the Seattle Seahawks.

There was competition between fans of the teams and in each grade level to encourage participation.

Principal Corey Cochran became the coach for the Broncos fans, and physical education teacher Eric Laws coached the Seahawks supporters. They appeared on school announcements to remind students of the competition.

Laws said the whole food drive was a lot of fun for the kids and pointed out that some of the school’s own students will benefit from the drive.

Cochran said the response from the school community was great. The initial goal for the drive was 1,000 cans, but that number was quickly surpassed. In a week shortened by snow days, students still brought in an amazing 1,869 cans of food.

Jodi Helms’ kindergarten students made headbands for their favorite teams. David Gadd and Gabe Smith wore their respective Seahawks and Broncos headgear as they showed off the bounty of canned goods the school had ready to deliver to the food ministry.

The cans are for other people who don’t have any food, Gabe said. David “bringed in soup,” he told me, including two cans of “Dora the Explorer soup.” Both boys were as excited about the shopping carts full of cans as they were about the football game and school competition.

“Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!” was the response to the school’s donation from Mount Pleasant Food Ministry leader Harry Lassiter. The ministry is averaging 500 customers each month, and in 2013 it served 1,863 families.

The ministry’s monthly grocery bill is about $5,000, so donations like the Souper Bowl drive really help.

And in case you were wondering, the Mount Pleasant Elementary students did correctly predict the Super Bowl winner: 955 cans of food were donated in support of the Seahawks and 914 for the Broncos, a closer contest than the actual game.

But the real winners were hungry families and the children who learned an important lesson about helping others.

Marcia Morris is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marcia? Email her at EasternCabarrusWriter@ gmail.com.

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