By Karen Vance
You might think Super Bowl Sunday is all about football. But for hundreds of Tristate teens, it's also about caring for the hungry.
Churches all over the country will be participating in the Souper Bowl of Caring, a fund-raising event for local charities, including food pantries.
"For us it's a no-brainer. It's a rather simple offering to have your church youth group standing outside with pots and pans to collect for others," said the Rev. Cinda Gorman, co-pastor of Westwood First Presbyterian Church, 3011 Harrison Ave.
Last year, 7,000 youth in 500 cities raised $3.1 million on Super Bowl weekend and donated that money to local charities, said Dianne Berry, a spokeswoman for the national organization.
The youth group at Westwood Presbyterian plans to donate its collection to Ronald McDonald House, which provides a place for families to stay while their children are at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The group regularly volunteers at the house, cooking meals and buying groceries.
At Lakeside Presbyterian Church, 2690 Dixie Highway in Lakeside Park, Ky., the youth give their donations to Open Door, an agency serving the Walnut Hills area. The students also volunteer there every fourth Saturday, the Rev. Chris Torrey said.
While the national movement began at a Presbyterian church, the effort is not isolated to one denomination or religion. All 14 area churches of the African Methodist Episcopal Church participate in the event, allowing the youth group members to pick the charities they want to donate to, said Clara Godhigh, the conference branch women's missionary society president.
The AME churches have donated their collections to local food banks, the Heart Foundation, Ronald McDonald House and Children's Hospital in the past.
And the Rockdale Temple's religious school students have been participating for three or four years, donating half their collections to the Free Store Food Bank and half to Mazon, a Reform Jewish group based in Los Angeles that responds to hunger.
"It allows our youngsters to think about hunger both on a local level, with the donation to the Food Store, as well as on a global level," said Meryl Goldman, director of lifelong learning at Rockdale, 8501 Ridge Road in Amberley Village.
For more information about the Souper Bowl of Caring or to participate, visit www.souperbowl.org or call (800) 358-SOUP.
Service for singles
St. Monica-St. George Catholic Newman Center will host a special Mass of blessing and celebration for single people of all ages. The Rev. Al Hirt will preside at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
The service, at 328 W. McMillan St., will include four single speakers and will be followed by a light breakfast.
Fuller to speak
Courtis Fuller, former mayoral candidate and host of WCIN Radio's 1480 Talk Show, will speak at God's Provisions from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday. Admission is free.
Gospel concert Sunday
Dr. Charles Fold and the Gospel Music Workshop of America's Cincinnati Chapter will present a concert at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Lee Chapel AME Church, 2009 Pogue Ave.
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