Souper Bowl of Caring logo

Our History

In 1990, 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" was delivered to a small youth group at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC led by Brad Smith, who was serving as a seminary intern at the time.

This gave birth to an idea. Why not harness the energy and enthusiasm of Super Bowl weekend, a time when people come together for football, food and fun, to unite the nation for a higher good? Individuals and groups could collect dollars in soup pots and canned food for those in need and send every dollar and food donation DIRECTLY to a local charity of THEIR choice.

The first year, they invited 22 area churches to join the team and collected $5,700 with 100% of donations distributed to local-area charities.

That was 1990. Since then, Souper Bowl of Caring has become a national, grass-roots, youth-inspired movement where ordinary people are doing extraordinary good. Over $170 MILLION in dollars and food has been generated while benefiting thousands of soup kitchens, food banks, meal programs and other hunger-relief charities in local communities.

Thousands of participants including: churches, schools, youth groups, community partners, grocery partners, local businesses, media partners, NFL teams and passionate individuals have experienced for themselves, the joy and satisfaction of giving, serving and inspiring people across the country to follow their generous example.

Highlights + Headlines

Check out inspirational Souper Bowl of Caring stories, highlighting the history of Souper Bowl of Caring and the impact in communities across the country.

2020 - Celebrated 30 Years of Caring & Released the Tackle Hunger Map

Explore the MAP.

Over $9.6 million collected in 2019.

“It’s a service project, and it’s fun at the same time,” she said. “Anyone who’s homeless, elderly or anyone who’s hungry frankly can come in and get a free bowl of soup.”

Jonathan Weaver

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Gianna Spiro
Panther Prowler - Feb. 8, 2019

“Recently, the Los Angeles Rams participated in the “Souper Bowl of Caring”, a national nonprofit aimed to use the energy surrounding the Super Bowl and transform it into a time of giving and caring for poverty and the food insecure.”

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Over $8.2 million collected in 2018.

Nov. 13th, 2018

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Over $10.1 million collected in 2017.

Jan. 4, 2017

“Child poverty and hunger are reaching alarming levels in Utah. More than 170,000 Utah kids are eligible for free school breakfasts and lunches and another 50,000 are eligible for reduced cost meals.” Read More. View Video.

Matt Vergara
KREM 2 CBS - Feb. 1, 2017

“Getting involved with the national youth advisory board was just another way for me to help out my local community. Since I was young, I’ve always worked with people in need. I’ve loved it. It’s been a really positive thing in my life. Whenever I get an opportunity to do something like this, I take it,” said Carson.”

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Over $10.5 million collected in 2016.

The Beacon-News.
Chicago Tribune - Feb. 1, 2016

“For the last 10 years, the Fox Valley United Way has partnered with local grocery stores and student volunteers to bring the Souper Bowl of Caring to the Aurora area.”

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Jan. 7, 2016

Mayor Steve Benjamin urges Columbia to help lead the fight against hunger and poverty this season. View Video.

May 5, 2016

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Over $8.6 million collected in 2015.

Tribune Chronicle
Feb. 2, 2015

“Before the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots played the big game Sunday night, area children took advantage of Super Bowl-themed activities, including fundraisers to help the community. Many area churches held their annual Souper Bowl of Caringl, in which children pass around cooking pots and ask those attending services to donate to help local charities.” Read More.

Over $8.5 million collected in 2014.

Chris Hottensen
The Southern Illinoisian - Feb. 2, 2014

“On the football field, Courtney Richmond and Anthony Thompson set their sights on taking the ball away, but the members of the SIU defensive secondary had giving back on their minds Saturday. Saturday morning, the Saluki football players were in front of Schnucks in Carbondale collecting money in a large cooking pot for Good Samaritan Ministries’ Souper Bowl of Caring.”

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Shelby Hodge
Culture Map - Oct. 1, 2014

“With a quarter century of raising funds for the nation's hungry under its belt, the Souper Bowl of Caring has just moved headquarters from Columbia, S.C., to Houston and in the process honors an H-Town hero with its first Tackling Hunger Humanitarian Award.”

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Over $7.6 million collected in 2013.

Sept. 11, 2013

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Jan. 15, 2013

Former TCU and NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson headlined the Souper Bowl of Caring event at Fort Worth ISD's Tanglewood Elementary on Tuesday, January 15, and was joined by Superintendent Walter Dansby. This served as the official kickoff of the area's Souper Bowl of Caring campaign as Tanglewood students collect cans of food for the Tarrant Area Food Bank.

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Over $9.9 million collected in 2012.

April 24, 2012

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April 24, 2012

A culmination of the 2012 Souper Bowl of Caring Tackle Hunger Photobook project. Participants were asked to print a basic "Tackle Hunger" sheet, decorate it with how they are personally tackling hunger in their community, and send us a picture of them holding it up. Music by Those Lavender Whales.

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Over $9.6 million collected in 2011.

Stephanie Lucero
CBS DFW - Jan. 13, 2012

“They know what it’s like to be champions in sports and the students of Coppell High School have also earned top honors when it comes to caring for others. The effort was clear in 2011 when students collected more food for needy families than any other campus in the country. Students did it as of a national effort called the Souper Bowl of Caring.”

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Over $10.2 million collected in 2010.

Jan. 4, 2010

A video celebrating the 20 year history of the Souper Bowl of Caring.

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Over $10.4 million collected in 2009.

Sandra T. Molina
Los Angeles Daily News - Oct. 24, 2019

“We’re the future,” Manzanares said. “Age doesn’t define us; our actions do.” She is one of a 17-member national youth advisory board and the only one from California.” “During the summer, Manzanares traveled to South Carolina to meet with other board members. “They have the same need to help as I do,” Manzanares said. “It’s not only adults who should address problems, but our generation too.”

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Over $10.3 million collected in 2008.
Jan. 14, 2008

“Three food retailers, a newspaper, four television stations, radio stations, and all of them want your attention, your support, your business. They compete,” Smith said at the kickoff event. “But by pulling all those letters together, they are forming an army that can mobilize the people of this great area to each give a little to help those that have less.”

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Aida Mallard
The Gainesville Sun - Jan. 31, 2008

“Just like the Patriots and the Giants are super heroes, we can be super heroes by helping the needy on this day and every day,” said Dr. Karen Cole-Smith, director of the Santa Fe Community College Outreach and the East Gainesville Initiative.

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Over $8.1 million collected in 2007.

Over $5.0 million collected in 2006.

David Yonke
Toledo Blade - Feb. 4, 2006

"If we can get 10,000 youth groups, with an average of 10 kids in each one, that would be 100,000 young people helping local charities. It's a teachable moment," Mr. Smith said.

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Over $40 million collected in 2005.

Daily Record Staff
Jax Daily Record - Jan. 27, 2005

During a presentation recognizing the Rev. Brad Smith, founder of a national Super Bowl related charity movement called the Souper Bowl of Caring, Councilman Warren Alvarez took a soup pot the organization uses to collect money and passed it around the room like an offering plate.

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Over $4.1 Million Collected in 2004.

Houston Texans Owners, Bob & Janice McNair become first NFL Owners to support Souper Bowl of Caring.

President George W. Bush
The White House - Jan. 22, 2004

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Associated Press
Los Angeles Times - Jan. 23, 2004

“First Lady Laura Bush on Thursday encouraged football fans to spare $1 from their Super Bowl party budgets to help fight hunger and poverty. “Today we invite every American to take action,” Bush said, addressing youth volunteers at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington. “Let us transform Super Bowl Weekend into the biggest weekend of compassion in this country.”

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Don Pierson
Chicago Tribune - Jan. 30, 2004

“Said Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells: "I challenge every young person in Texas to become involved in the Souper Bowl of Caring. If your house of worship or school is not involved, get them involved."

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Over $3.2 million collected in 2003.

Jay Tennier
Dec. 23, 2003

In an age when division and dissension tear at the fabric of our society, Souper Bowl of Caring illustrates the wonderful possibilities that exist when we move beyond ourselves and work together in partnership with others.

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Ellen Crean
CBS News - Jan. 17, 2003

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Over $2.8 million collected in 2002.

Over $3.2 million collected in 2001.

Over $2.9 million collected in 2000.

Dear Abby Syndicated Columnist
Sun-Sentinel - Jan. 7, 2000

“Dear Brad Smith: I love the concept. I hope all my readers will encourage their congregations, schools, offices or businesses to participate. By giving $1, everyone will be a winner during Super Bowl 2000.”

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Over $2.4 million collected in 1999.

Over $1.5 million collected in 1998.

$989,317 collected in 1997.

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

$737,611 collected in 1996.

$406,632 collected in 1995.

$270,628 Collected in 1994.

$144,000 Collected in 1993.

Churches and schools from 36 states join in first Souper Bowl of Caring National effort.

$50,000 Collected in 1992.

$22,000 Collected in 1991.

22 churches in Columbia, SC and surrounding areas collect $5,700.

Inspired by 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."

Dr. Rev. Brad Smith, Founder