History

A simple prayer: "Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat" is inspiring a youth-led movement to help hungry and hurting people around the world.

This prayer, delivered by Brad Smith, then a seminary intern serving at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, gave birth to an idea. Why not use Super Bowl weekend, a time when people come together for football and fun, to also unify the nation for a higher good: collecting dollars and canned food for the needy? Youth could collect donations at their schools and churches in soup pots, and then send every dollar DIRECTLY to a local charity of THEIR choice.

The senior high youth of Spring Valley Presbyterian liked the idea so much they decided to invite other area churches to join the team. Twenty-two Columbia churches participated that first year, reporting their results so a total could be determined, and then sending all $5,700 they had raised to area non-profits.

That was 1990. Since then, ordinary young people have generated an extraordinary more than $90 million for soup kitchens, food banks and other charities in communities across the country. In addition, hundreds of thousands of youth have experienced for themselves the joy and satisfaction of giving and serving, inspiring people of all ages to follow their generous example.
Timeline

1990

First Souper Bowl of Caring - 22 churches collect $5,700 in Columbia, South Carolina

1993

Churches and schools from 36 states join in first national effort

1997

Souper Bowl of Caring breaks $1 million and gains 501(c)(3) non-profit status

2002

Founder, Rev. Dr. Brad Smith becomes first full-time staff member as Executive Director

2003

Awarded Daily Point of Light Award by Points of Light Foundation

2004

First NFL Owners support Souper Bowl of Caring: Bob and Janice McNair- Houston Texans

2004

First Lady Laura Bush kicks-off Souper Bowl of Caring in Washington, DC

2005

President George H.W. Bush becomes National Advocate

2005

President Jimmy Carter becomes National Advocate

2006

First official Super Bowl Host Committee Endorsement- Detroit Super Bowl XL

2007

Inaugural Souper Bowl of Caring Greater Houston Food Drive collects $1.8 million in cash and cans

2008

National total reaches $10 million in cash and food

2008

Community Food Drive initiative expands to Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth

2009

Founder and Executive Director Rev. Dr. Brad Smith accepts a call to become Senior Pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina

2010

Former Vice President of Communications Tracy Bender is appointed new President and CEO for Souper Bowl of Caring