(Souper Bowl of Caring/TackleHunger.org)

With Super Bowl LV just hours away, an archdiocesan hunger relief agency is asking for help in tackling food insecurity.

Nutritional Development Services (NDS) is participating in the nationwide “Souper Bowl of Caring” collection to restock its network of more than 50 food cupboards and pantries throughout the five-county metropolitan area.

Drawing on football fans’ enthusiasm for tonight’s big game, the effort – which runs through Feb. 7 — provides a convenient format for online donations to NDS.

Agency leaders are asking participants to contribute one dollar, the average price of can of soup, by visiting the Souper Bowl of Caring Tackle Hunger Map at https://map.tacklehunger.org/ and searching for “Nutritional Development Services Community Food Program.”

Those interested in supporting NDS directly can make a gift here.

Over the past three decades, the grassroots “Souper Bowl” campaign has generated more than $163 million in support for local community food ministries.

The initiative was inspired by Brad Smith, then a seminary intern, who in 1990 led a simple prayer for the youth group of Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina: “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.”

COVID-19 has dramatically compounded food insecurity, leaving some 50 million U.S. residents at risk for hunger.

Currently, NDS is delivering more than 25,000 pounds of food per month to its sites, with demand soaring week over week. Recent food distributions have drawn hundreds despite bitter temperatures and long lines, and NDS staff have reported running out of portions for waiting clients.

For more information on NDS’ Souper Bowl of Caring Collection or to set up a food drive in your community, please contact Denise Hopkins, administrator of the NDS Community Food Program, at 215-895-3470 ext. 77823 or dhopkins@ndsarch.org.