IOCC, Orthodox youth team up for ‘Souper Bowl’

- For the fourth consecutive year, Orthodox Christian churches across the country will join a nationwide, ecumenical effort on Super Bowl Sunday to help organizations such as International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). Orthodox young people will collect dollars in large soup pots during the “Souper Bowl of Caring” on Feb. 3, 2002, and then send the money to the charity of their choice.

The “Souper Bowl of Caring” began at a Presbyterian church in Columbia, S.C., in 1990 and has grown into a grassroots movement linked with the national pastime of Super Bowl Sunday. In 2001, 12,500 congregations, including many Orthodox parishes, participated and generated $3.6 million for various charities.

Young people participate by holding large soup pots at their church exits to receive the donations. As parishioners leave worship on Super Bowl Sunday, they are invited to give $1 to help people in need.

The young people, with the guidance of their youth leader or parish priest, then send the monetary donation to an organization of their choice.

This year, “Souper Bowl” organizers expect 14,000 churches to raise $4 million for worthy organizations nationwide.

Once the donations are counted, each parish is asked to call 1-800-358-SOUP or visit to report the amount collected, so that the efforts of Orthodox Christians can be added to the national total. All the money raised goes to the charities selected by the participants.

Founded in 1992, IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians in the United States. It has helped people in more than 20 countries through programs of emergency assistance, development and community empowerment.