On Wednesday, Jan. 9, there was a large gathering in Humble at the early hour of 5:30 a.m. Students at Rhodes School for Performing Arts Humble campus were helping to kickoff this year’s Souper Bowl of Caring.
Souper Bowl of Caring is a national organization with a local focus designed to address hunger within the local community. Born out of this simple prayer, “Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us to be mindful of those without a bowl of soup to eat,” the movement now spans the country and makes a difference in thousands of lives. It is “a national movement of young people working together to fight hunger and poverty in their own communities around the time of the Super Bowl football game.” The 1990 prayer, offered by Brad Smith who was a seminary intern serving at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., inspired and challenged young people in the community to get involved. The students banded together with other church youth groups and the rest, as they say, is history.
Three decades and millions of pounds of food later, Souper Bowl of Caring is a signature community event that brings together friends and competitors alike to help tackle hunger. Each year, hundreds of thousands of pounds of nonperishable food and millions of dollars are collected and then donated to area food banks to help feed the hungry within the local community.
The event attracted Houston media from nearly every television station as well as community leaders, celebrity athletes and those who just want to make a difference.
“It’s our responsibility to help those who are less fortunate,” said Humble Mayor Merle Aaron, who was on hand with Councilmember Charles Cunningham to celebrate the event. “Our police and our firefighters respond to disasters, but those who work at the food banks are … the unsung heroes who quietly go about helping those who have such great need and go about serving.”
The mayor also applauded the Rhodes School for Performing Arts Superintendent Terrell Hutchinson-Smith for the school’s work in bringing the event to the city and for the school’s presence in the community.
“We’re glad that you are here, and not in some other area. Thank you for going to the effort,” the mayor told Hutchinson-Smith. Other prominent attendees included Dr. Dave Peterson, director of community outreach for the Janice and Bob McNair Foundation.
Peterson stated that Souper Bowl of Caring “is an effort to do something in the city that is significant. It’s the largest food drive in the city and we try to make it the largest food drive in the state of Texas, and we think it makes a difference in a lot of people’s lives. You know, hunger is kind of a quiet, not-obvious crisis that most people face.”
Jamey Rootes, president of the Houston Texans, is also very passionate about the Texans’ involvement in the Souper Bowl of Caring.
“Bob and Janice McNair thought we could do something bigger than just have a football game,” said Rootes. “We could help relieve the most vulnerable in our community of hunger during this celebration ... So, really, it’s about family and kids and our community. This is the largest Souper Bowl of Caring event in the country. It pulls together very competitive media entities. We just ask that our fellow Texans come out and do something. Volunteer, make a donation … Do something to join with us to help end hunger in our community.”
Other special guests included former Houston Texans defensive end and first-round draft pick Travis Johnson, H-E-B Director of Public Affairs Lisa Helfman, and Vice President of Public Affairs for Clear Channel Communication Lee Vela, as well as representatives from Randalls and Kroger, Texans Cheerleaders, and of course, the famous Toro!
Allison Reese, Souper Bowl of Caring’s executive director, expressed her excitement about having the school host the event and about being in the City of Humble.
“We are excited to be a part of the Rhodes School for the Performing Arts kickoff and campaign for Souper Bowl of Caring. They’ve been a part for so many years. We are privileged to be here in Humble at their lovely school and have them be a part of our kickoff event for the whole city. It’s a really exciting thing that the whole city is here, not only seeing their talent, but to kickoff this event where we’ll raise $2.5 million,” said Reese.
“The Rhodes School for Performing Arts motto is we are C.R.E.W … not passengers. C.R.E.W. stands for community, responsibility, ethics and works. The Souper Bowl of Caring is a great opportunity for students and our entire school community to demonstrate C.R.E.W. on a practical level with real, tangible impact,” stated Hutchinson-Smith. Rhodes School for Performing Arts is a PreK-8th grade public, fine arts, magnet school that has been in the Lake Houston community for five years.
Food collected from this year’s Souper Bowl of Caring will benefit the Humble Area Assistance Ministries.