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Souper Bowl 2021

Souper Bowl 2021

By: Susan Naslund & Theresa Erb
Co-Directors of the Bethlehem Food Pantry

Our congregation has always been very generous on arguably the biggest sporting day of the year – “Super Bowl Sunday.” Many of you have celebrated the event in the past by bringing enough Campbell’s and Progresso products to church to make the “Souper Bowl” one of the highest scoring days for the Bethlehem Food Pantry. This year, however, you will not have the same opportunity to bring your cans of soup to worship. Instead, we are asking you to donate in different ways during this unusual football season.

First, we want you to know that throughout 2020, the generosity of Foothillians has spiked to all-star levels as you have sought ways to help your neighbors in need during the pandemic. For example, you have never failed to complete the pass of food from your shopping cart to the pantry door. You have never once considered a can of chicken a “personal fowl” nor our preference for line-caught tuna to be a “defensive tackle.” Wide receivers have picked up groceries from locations throughout the field of East County so that linebackers could pack thousands of bags for distribution on game days at the GSMC.

Prepare to be “bowled” over by this statistic: In 2020, the Bethlehem Food Pantry rescued a total of 13,290 pounds of food from Smart & Final and Trader Joe’s combined!

Because of all of you MVPs, non-perishable food items are currently huddled on the shelves of the pantry. Bags of rice and boxes of pasta are spilling out into the endzone.

In addition, Feeding San Diego and the Jacob & Cushman San Diego Food Bank have sustained the pantry throughout the pandemic by providing pallets of food valued at thousands of dollars completely free of charge each week.

This doesn’t mean we want you to kick your generous habits. Even though we don’t need more cans of soup at this time, we are asking you to be team players by either 1) making a financial contribution to the Bethlehem Food Pantry this Souper Bowl Sunday, and/or 2) pledging to volunteer during Friday or Saturday mornings in the upcoming season at the pantry by sending an email to foodpantry@foothillsumc.org.

Theresa Erb and I obviously don’t know much about football, but we do understand the continued need for food resources in our community. It is certain that the support from the food banks will eventually end, and then the need for volunteers at the pantry will become even greater. We can’t anticipate how long it will take for our pantry guests to recover financially from lost jobs and income as we emerge from this health crisis. They will definitely need to rely on the pantry for their nutrition in the foreseeable future. We are reserving your monetary gifts now so that we can supplement the food you have already donated for 2021 distributions.

You are champions in tackling hunger in El Cajon. We still have many yards to go to meet our goal, and we can’t do it without your help this “Souper Bowl Sunday.” Thank you for being souper teammates.

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