The "big game" is just three days away, and one local organization is gearing up to host it's own Souper Bowl - for soup, that is.
Smith County's People Attempting to Help, or PATH, hosts this drive each year to help stock an essential item in their food pantry, one that many people depend on because it's easy to fix and can be eaten straight from the can.
"It's a meal in a can, literally," said Becky Duncan, PATH's Community Outreach Coordinator. "Most soups have everything that you would need for a meal in that can, from protein to vegetables."
Duncan says that even though most people think of soup as a winter meal, it's a nutritious meal for anyone at any time of the year.
"Many children who are at home in the afternoon immediately after school for a nutritious meal or a snack after school can open a can of soup and they have their snack or their meal," Duncan said. "Many people don't have the opportunity to have a way to cook or to heat meals, to cook on a big range. You literally could open a can of soup and eat it right out of the can."
Last year, the Souper Bowl drive brought in about 47,000 pounds of soup, and even though the pantry limits the number of cans each person or family can take, that's not enough to last a full year.
This year, Duncan says they have bigger goals.
"We hope that we would collect enough soup that would last the entire year," Duncan said. "We generally will run out about six or seven months into the year. So in order for the soup to last an entire year, we would have to collect somewhere around 90,000 pounds of food."
Each year, PATH offers a congregational and community MVP award to the groups who collect the most soup - and Duncan says the spirit surrounding Sunday's "big game" can spark some healthy competition for a good cause.
"Make it a fun competition so that each group in your business or your school can have an opportunity to compete against one another," she said.
PATH will be collecting the cans of soup - or money to donate towards the cost of soup - during the entire month of February.
PATH officials determine the MVPs based on which group donates the most pounds of food. They will weigh the soup as it comes in during February, and they'll determine who wins those MVP awards in early March.
To learn more about the drive or to contact PATH officials about participating, click here.
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