Antihunger Souper Bowl runs up the score again: Over $8 million raised this year

April 8, 2008

The annual “Souper Bowl” antihunger campaign broke another record in donations this year—reaching $9.5 million from 14,654 congregations by March 5, officials said.

Started by a Presbyterian pastor in South Carolina on Super Bowl Sunday in 1955, the campaign has raised nearly $50 million for such charities as food banks and soup kitchens. Participating groups report by telephone the amount of money they raised, then send donations to charities of their choice.

The program’s founder and executive director, Presbyterian pastor Brad Smith, said he was especially gratified to see that 2,356 PCUSA churches nationwide used the program to reach out to those who are hungry and hurting. Presbyterians, with a little more than $1 million in giving, were second in fund-raising only to the Roman Catholic Church, by far the largest church body in the U.S.

A variety of organizations and churches took part this year, and their donations far exceeded the 2007 total of $8.1 million and the previous year’s $5 million.