Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SUPER BOWL OF CARING: Arlington volunteers team up for food collection

The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched television events every year.
One nonprofit also wants to make it the nation’s biggest weekend for giving and serving.
North Texas Souper Bowl of Caring hopes to raise $1.3 million in cash and food donations for the needy while recruiting volunteers to serve on Feb. 2, the Saturday before the Ravens and 49ers battle for the top prize.
Organizers say they want to harness the energy of the Super Bowl — which is the second-largest day for food consumption in the U.S. — to help relieve hunger.
“This is the perfect time to engage young people to give back to their community,” said Cristina Barbe, North Texas director for Souper Bowl of Caring, which is supported by the Dallas Cowboys, among others. “For a lot of food banks and pantries, inventories run low after the holidays, and we can help them restock shelves.”
Arlington residents who want to donate can purchase pre-packaged bags of food items or make cash donations at 200 participating Albertson’s, Market Street, Kroger and Tom Thumb stores.
Volunteer opportunities are available at local nonprofits across North Texas, including Mission Arlington and Tarrant Area Food Bank.
Mission Arlington is recruiting 200 volunteers to help sort through clothing and other donations, stock shelves and organize the food pantry on the Saturday before the big game.
Now in year 27, the nonprofit serves roughly 1,000 clients a day. Donations are accepted 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, and canned and non-perishable foods, clothing, diapers and toiletries are needed.
“The Super Bowl is such a fun, celebratory day,” said Jim Burgin, a Mission Arlington pastor. “Turning that excitement into something that makes a difference in people’s lives is a wonderful idea.”
No time to volunteer? Organizers suggest hosting a canned food drive or asking guests at Super Bowl parties to donate.
“It’s never too late,” Barbe said. “Every little bit counts toward our goal.”
To sign up to volunteer or learn more, visit Souper Bowl of Caring.
Souper Bowl of Caring is a national youth-led movement of schools, congregations and community organizations joining together to combat hunger and poverty. Since the program started in 1990, volunteers have collected more than $91 million in dollars and cans, with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to food banks, soup kitchens and charities.
The organization expanded to North Texas six years ago.

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