Making the Super Bowl Meaningful

January 24th, 2014

In case you haven’t noticed, football season is in full swing, and one of the biggest days for football fans is just around the corner—the Super Bowl. With all the media hype, the controversial half-time show and commercials, and of course the friendly (and sometimes not-so-friendly) competition, church leaders and parents may be left shaking their heads. Really? Is it all that important? After all, it is just a game. Right?

Well, I guess that all depends on who you ask. But, you can be sure about one thing. Almost every kid in America has at least heard of the Super Bowl, and many will be actively involved in the Super Bowl festivities. For some it has become a holiday in itself.

So, what can you—as a parent, caregiver, or teacher—do to capitalize on all the hype and make the Super Bowl a truly meaningful experience for your children?

The Souper Bowl of Caring is a great place to start. It is a nation-wide movement that encourages individuals, especially youth, to take advantage of the time surrounding the Super Bowl to work together to help fight hunger and poverty. The program, which started in 1990, has collected more than $98 million in dollars and cans, and all the donations are given to local ministries chosen by participating groups.

Here are a few ideas for how you can help the children in your life make a difference during this Super Bowl season:

Host a Souper Bowl Supper

Will you be celebrating the Super Bowl with friends or family? If so, turn it into a “Souper Bowl” party instead. Encourage everyone to bring a pot of soup to share with the group, and a few cans of soup to collect for your local food pantry. If your church has a large fellowship area, encourage everyone to bring a pot of soup to share after the morning service. Place children at the door of the eating area with large empty soup pots where diners can make cash donations to be used for ministries to the less fortunate.

Kick-Off a Soup Can Collection

If you teach Sunday school or are involved in a children’s ministry, help the children create flyers asking everyone in the congregation to bring a can or two of soup on Super Bowl Sunday. Younger children can help decorate collection boxes. Older children might enjoy helping take the collections to a local charity or helping stock the canned goods in the church food pantry.

Participate in Souper Service Saturday

Consider enlisting the help of older children and tweens at a local charity the Saturday before the big game. Make sure to have signed parental permission and to contact the charity before arriving. Some charities may allow children to help stock food supplies, help prepare sandwiches for the homeless or serve meals at a local soup kitchen.

Sell Super Bowl Snacks

Enlist the children’s help in selling Super Bowl snacks after the morning service the day of the game. You can prepare and package cookies, cupcakes, or other goodies to sell. Older children can take orders the week prior to the game and then help adult volunteers prepare pots of soup or platters of sandwiches. Donate all proceeds to local mission efforts or food banks.

Make the Competition Count

Older children may enjoy some friendly competition of their own, for a cause that counts. Create a poster of a football field, with two sets of goal posts on each end. Divide your class into two teams. You can label the teams according to the actual teams competing in the Super Bowl or let the children choose their own team names. Encourage the children to bring in donations (either dollars or cans) and for each one, place a paper football in the appropriate team’s end zones. The team with the most footballs “wins.” The donations can be packaged into individual food baskets for families or given to a local ministry.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore the Super Bowl. Instead, take advantage of the football frenzy. Make the Super Bowl something more than just a game. Help your children understand that there are those who don’t have enough to eat, and then empower them with ways that they can help. Before the first player ever steps foot on the field, and regardless of who wins the game, you can help make this Super Bowl one that your children will never forget.

For more information on the Souper Bowl of Caring, visit the UMC link here.   

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