By Lynn Leming
DAVENPORT — On Feb. 1, 130 million people tuned in to the Super Bowl football game. There were parties with abundant food, friendship and fellowship.
At the same time, there are people worrying about clothing their families, looking for shelter and hoping for a warm meal. Last weekend, 25 of our youth and adult mentors joined tens of thousands of youth around the country to demonstrate God’s love by loving our neighbors through a different kind of bowl — the Souper Bowl of Caring.
It is a simple, yet significant act of caring for others. On Jan. 31 we worked at the Central Community Circle Food Pantry and the CCC Community Neighborhood Center and for Project Renewal in Davenport. We held our blue bowls and wore our red aprons and received donations of $1,000 from our church family. This money goes directly to the three projects.
Our Souper Bowl of Caring teams were led by high school students Abby Peeters and Abby Lantzky at Project Renewal, and Emerald and Sienna Klauer and Whitney Leming at Central Community Circle Food Pantry and CCC Community Neighborhood Center. St. Paul the Apostle Student Council members and youth from our parish joined the teams. Greg and Kat Klauer and Randy Maro helped us construct the shelves needed and provided guidance to the project at the neighborhood center where we sorting clothing, toys and supplies and built shelves. At Project Renewal we cleaned the “Treat House” in the morning and took 30 children from Project Renewal to the Bettendorf YMCA for a pizza party and fun in the pool in the afternoon.
We started our day with Mass at 8:30 a.m. with a special commissioning by Father Mike Spiekermeier, our pastor. We headed out to our sites at 9 a.m. and worked until 2 p.m. Mr. Daniel and Kate Daniel helped us to illustrate our work by creating a Souper Bowl of Caring video.
Those who need help may not know the name of the person who cared, but God does. And our young people are developing hearts for giving that can last a lifetime. This is definitely a way for our young people to put God’s love into action by developing a heart for helping others.
Student leader Emerald Klauer says, “We quickly filled a truck with things to take to the Salvation Army to provide more space in the neighborhood center. Another truck was filled with cardboard boxes that were broken down and taken to be recycled. At the food pantry, food was brought up from storage, sorted, and organized. We finished at the pantry by sweeping and scrubbing floors.
“We then took a break for lunch and reflected with Sister Marilyn (Schierbrock, CHM) about all that had been accomplished. We had a discussion about the people living in her neighborhood and how they help each other and the additional help that is needed.
“At the neighborhood center, new shelves were built; clothes were organized, put into bins, and labeled. The floors were swept and scrubbed. What a great feeling to be able to see what can be accomplished in one day of giving! I know we made a difference.”
(Lynn Leming is a youth ministry coordinator at St. Paul the Apostle Parish.)