Westwood First Presbyterian Church Tackles Hunger in the Annual Souper Bowl of Caring

On Super Bowl Sunday in 1990, a young seminary intern named Brad Smith prayed with the youth group of Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina. He said, “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.” This simple thought turned into an annual movement thanks to churches and scouting groups across the nation: the Souper Bowl of Caring. The organizers of the Souper Bowl of Caring urge us to imagine if everyone attending the NFL Super Bowl donated just one dollar!

For the sixth year, Westwood First Presbyterian Church collected donations to help our community through the Souper Bowl of Caring. Although this Souper Bowl started with a focus on food, many people also need the plain comforts of life. We focused on two nonprofits in the Westwood area of Cincinnati: the WestFed Food Pantry and BLOC Ministries’ Weightless Anchor.

The WestFed Food Pantry was originally formed through a cooperative effort of six Westwood/Cheviot area churches. This year, WestFed needed paper products — toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissues — as well as shampoo, bars of soap, and toothpaste. BLOC Ministries’ Weightless Anchor serves women who are struggling with addiction and those who are victims of the sex-trade industry. Their facilities offer “rest, showers, hot meals, free clothes, and hygiene products, and most importantly, love without a cost.” This year, they asked for personal-size hygiene products, paper products, gloves, hats, scarves, and mittens.

Westwood First is celebrating a new interim pastor, Rev. Dr. Rich Jones.

“Westwood First Presbyterian has been a part of the Westwood neighborhood for about 150 years. The congregation today truly wants to engage the neighborhood for mutual growth in our relationships. As we become more alive and aware of our ‘place,’ we begin to see ourselves and others more deeply connected and in relationship,” says Jones.

“We all have gifts and talents that we can share together. In a world where so many voices are trying to divide us, the Westwood neighborhood and Westwood First Presbyterian Church, along with other faith communities and local non-profit and for-profit partners, want to move toward relationships for the common good of all. That’s a great thing for Westwood, as well as for our city, country, really the world as everything and everyone really are connected.”