Thanks to the generosity of the Marshall community last week, several people who may have gone hungry on Super Bowl Sunday will have something to eat instead.
On Thursday, the Marshall Against Violence organization held its annual "Souper Bowl of Caring" food drive at Marshall City Park. All donations, which were accepted that afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m., went straight to the Mission Marshall Food Pantry.
And it was needed. Some of the shelves were becoming bare, according to MAV founder and president Demetria McFarland, who organized the food drive.
The group collected more than 400 pounds of food for the pantry – by far the most in the three years they've had the drive. McFarland watched in amazement as driver after driver pulled up, popped open the trunk and gave away sacks of food at a time. Macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables, pasta, pasta sauce – they got a little bit (or quite a bit) of everything.
One woman told McFarland she was grateful for the drive, because the family had extra money and didn't know what to do with it. She arrived at the park with her two sons in tow, setting an example of giving to strangers who may need a little help.
Someone else told McFarland in confidence that, while a success today, the person had to rely on the resources of the food pantry at one time. Other working-class people may have a job and a car, but sometimes they resort to using it as well, she says.
And it's what the pantry is there for. It serves approximately 900 families a month, so the need is always there to donate a can or a grocery bag of food. But for now, the shelves have been stocked again, thanks to the kindness of strangers in Harrison County.
Not every city can claim that much success with a food drive on a random Thursday afternoon in February. It says something great about our residents that not only were organizers pleased with the turnout, they were overwhelmed.
The origins for the "Souper Bowl," a nationwide cause, came about more than 25 years ago by a church youth group, whose prayer was, "Lord, as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us to be mindful of those without a bowl of soup to eat."
The residents of our area who showed up in droves to give have ensured that many, many more bowls of soup will be served.