The “2018 Souper Bowl of Caring,” is over.
And the winners are the people who frequent the West Valley Food Bank who received more than 6,000 packages and cans of soup in the friendly competition between United Church of Sun City and the Church of the Palms.
The home team, UC of Sun City, scored the winning touchdown by collecting the most cans and packages of soup and the coveted Silver Ladle Trophy is back on Sun City Blvd.
The quarterbacks for the competition were the Rev. Paul Whitlock of the Church of the Palms who won the competition last year; and the Rev. Brady Abel, of UC of Sun City, who initiated the competition. He learned about the fundraising effort from a church in South Carolina.
His parishioners had been involved with the Souper Bowl of Caring for more than five years, but the Rev. Abel realized that more soup could be donated if more churches were involved. So last year he turned the fundraiser into a friendly competition.
“We lost to a worthy opponent just by probably a tablespoon,” the Rev. Whitlock said good humoredly. The Palms collected 2,889 and UC of Sun City collected 3,209. “In all seriousness,” he said, “We are privileged to be able to raise some food and it was a great idea by Rev. Abel to challenge us to raise twice as much.”
Although the Palms lost, the reverend said his church will come roaring back next year and win back the coveted silver ladle. “Absolutely in the name of Jesus we will crush them,” he said with a laugh.
But the Rev. Whitlock also had his own challenge. “I think the UCCs needs to unite and challenge the other denominations in Sun City, including our Presbyterian siblings, our Lutheran siblings, our Catholic siblings, all faiths to be a part of this competition,” he said.
Rev. Abel’s response to the win? “We won, we won, we won,” he said with a smile. “The challenge is a lot of fun, the goal is to raise a lot of soup and we were able to do that and we give thanks for that.”
The minister said he agreed with Rev. Whitlock that more churches need to be involved. “Let’s make this a community-wide affair. The more churches, the more soup,” he said.
Reverend Abel said that other churches who wish to be part of the 2019 competition can contact him at 623-933-0058. “The traveling ladle will travel wherever it needs to travel to, but we hope to keep it at the United Church for a long, long time,” he added.
Special thanks goes to Hedy Hall, Chairperson of the UC of Sun City Mission Board, who counted and delivered the soup to the food bank.