Soup Bowl: more than a competition

The Soup Bowl, an annual competition between Guilford and Greensboro College, is more than just a football game; it is an opportunity for both schools to give back to their communities. The outstanding contest — to collect the most canned goods — is only part of the challenge in this yearly tradition.

“The most challenging part is what we hope to do in addition to collecting the cans,” said Director of Community Learning James Shields. “(We want) to bring awareness to hunger and homelessness and hopefully inspire some people to not only brings us cans but to help us in some of our service sites that are related to hunger and homelessness and to at least consider it in their everyday lives.”

The Soup Bowl football game kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 3. But the game is more than a competition between rival schools; it is also a cooperative effort to collect canned goods for the community and raise awareness about hunger.

“It is a competition, but at the same time it’s important that we are unified in the organization that we’re working with,” said Anna Davis, coordinator of Village 401, Greensboro’s service learning organization.

This year, all canned goods collected will go to Greensboro Urban Ministry Food Bank, which will in turn distribute it to the community.

“Guilford County is now our community, even if we’re not originally from here,” said junior Chelsey Wilson, project co-coordinator of the Soup Bowl. “Now we’re settled here. It goes back to our neighbors.”

According to project co-coordinator Tinece Holman, all groups of the Guilford community have been involved and donating this year, including CCE students, Early College students, and athletes. She attributes some of the athletic involvement to head football coach Chris Rusiewicz.

“He’s a new coach here at Guilford College, but he has shown his community service involvement,” said Holman. “He’s collected money from the parents of the football players and it’s just been amazing how much they’ve donated.”

So far, the football team has donated approximately 1000 cans of their 1500-can goal, and the Athletics Department is competing between teams to maximize donations, according to Holman. The ultimate goal, however, is to donate as many cans as possible to the community.

Both Shields and Davis emphasized the challenge that comes with coordinating the event so early in the year. However, the event also is an opportunity for students at both schools to unite early in the year.

“It really has been a good opportunity for the different groups to be working together for a common cause,” said Shields. “Obviously we want to win. We want to say that we won and we want the bragging rights, but ultimately it is about the cans and about helping to feed people.”