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Let’s win the Souper Bowl

Hunger is a constant amid the plenty

By The Mercury

The “Souper Bowl” is not a new event in Manhattan, but its planned resurgence is most welcome.

The Souper Bowl, a play on the NFL’s Super Bowl, is a benefit for the Flint Hills Breadbasket. At its peak about a decade ago, volunteers staffed local grocery stores and urged shoppers to donate a can of soup or box of nonperishable food for the area’s hungry. Coinciding with the effort at grocery stores, members of local churches brought food to their services for delivery to the Breadbasket. Though the effort lost some steam over the years, Maribeth Kieffer, the Breadbasket’s executive director, said in the three years since she took over, volunteers have collected food outside Dillons West the Saturday before the big game.

Bill Kennedy, a former Riley County attorney who helped organize the initial Souper Bowls, is at it again. As was evident in his letter to the editor in Wednesday’s Mercury, he’s as enthusiastic as ever, and with Ms. Kieffer has expanded participation this year.

As a result, volunteers will be at Hy-Vee, the Westside Ray’s Apple Market and Dillons East from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. In addition, volunteers and a radio remote will again be stationed outside Dillons West from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers at some stores might be operating separate shopping carts — one for folks who want the Denver Broncos to win and one for fans of the Seattle Seahawks.

We hope folks stocking up for Super Bowl parties or simply restocking their cabinets do at least some of their shopping Saturday when the Souper Bowl is under way and that fans of both the Broncos and Seahawks are generous. We would also remind residents that cash donations, which are tax-deductible, go a long way toward helping the Breadbasket meet its many needs.

Additionally, several churches are reportedly participating. Although the hour is late, we’ll bet that if parishioners bring food to their churches this weekend, the churches and the Breadbasket will find a way to get it to where it is most needed.

The needs are great, as the response to this week’s “Everybody Counts” program illustrates. As Mr. Kennedy said in his letter, “When the last echo of the football game has caromed into space… hunger will remain constant in our area.”

Manhattan has a long tradition of helping others, and the Souper Bowl is a simple and enjoyable way to help ease hunger in our community.

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