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Huddle Up Your Community To Blitz Hunger

As the Super Bowl draws near and people get their favorite chili recipes ready, it’s a good time to reflect on how fortunate we are to enjoy that bowl of soup and find ways to help those who will be going hungry during the Big Game.

Souper Bowl of Caring has helped fight hunger for three decades, using excitement around the biggest football game of the year to bring communities together for a common good.

We caught up with Souper Bowl of Caring’s Executive Director, Alison Reese, to get the lowdown on the organization and how everyone can do their part to #TackleHunger.

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Hunger map

Who can get involved with Souper Bowl of Caring?

“Anyone and everyone! Our mission is to unite communities to tackle hunger using the energy of the Big Game, meaning that we want people to ask the question, “What if everyone watching that Big Game gave just one dollar or one can of food to their local food charity?” And then we want them to take action.”

What does being a Souper Bowl of Caring team member look like?

“You find out where your local food charity is through our Tackle Hunger Map and then act. See what you can do to support that charity, either with a donation of money, food, or your time. Every food charity is in need of assistance and simply cannot do the work that needs to be done without help from the public.”

How might Souper Bowl of Caring events look this year compared to previous years?

“There are certainly more virtual events. That is why we created the Tackle Hunger Map, so that one can easily see where their local food charity is and support them either with a food drive or making a donation through our easy to use platform. We partner with YouGiveGoods, who has a great virtual food drive platform where you can donate food. We have resources that explain each of these ideas on our website.

How does the Tackle Hunger Map work?

“When you go to our map, it automatically adjusts to show you the food charities in your neighborhood. That means you can see who is tackling hunger in your area and help them any way you can. Our map is unique in that it is meant to provide support to food charities, not to show where people can find food. When you find the charity you wish to support, you can either donate right through the map or get to the charity’s website where you can learn more about what they need to do their work and feed your hungry neighbors.”

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How does a food charity become part of the Tackle Hunger Map?

“Just as with all of our programs, we endeavor to make it hard not to participate. A food charity can go to  the map and click the menu item called ‘contact.’ There, anyone can add a food charity to the map through an online form. Our staff verifies the charity and then adds it to the map within about 24 hours. There is no cost to charities for participating. 

As a part of this effort, Souper Bowl of Caring has partnered with other national food charity support organizations to create an open-source database of all food charities, so once the food charity gives us updated information, they will be sharing that with the network which provides other resources such as food finders for those in need.”

What can individuals do to help tackle hunger?

“Participate and be aware. The primary need for a human being to flourish is healthy food. Because of COVID-19, the number of Americans who are considered food insecure has grown to levels we haven’t seen in decades. McKinsey and Co. suggests that it will take 14 billion meals to feed those in need in 2021 and they will need all of us who can to help. Go to our website for great ideas and lots of resources to get involved and help your local food charity.

What tips do you have for organizations as they gear up for 2021?

“Look for places where you can make a difference. Remember with food charities, a little can go a long way. One dollar equals three meals, 1.2 pounds of food is equal to a meal. I like to make the analogy of a jar of peanut butter; it can be a part of a nutritious diet and provides protein. One jar can make 15 meals. If everyone watching the Big Game gave just one jar of peanut butter to their local food charity, that would be 100 million jars or 1.5 billion meals. That is a lot for just one jar.  BUT, we need 10 of this size of event to fill the need for food in 2021. Again, find and support your local food charity. If every faith group became a part of the support network for their local pantry or food bank, that would be a huge win for those charities.”

If you would like more information about Souper Bowl of Caring, or to get involved, visit www.tacklehunger.org. You can follow their progress on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.