This year’s version of the Avon-Avon Lake “SOUPer Bowl” is keeping the same goal it has had since its inception: Help those who are in need of extra assistance while encouraging a friendly cross-tracks competition during a great gridiron rivalry.
The SOUPer Bowl, held this year on Aug. 29 at Avon High School stadium during the Avon-Avon Lake football game, benefits Community Resource Services (CRS), which provides food and assists with living expenses for qualified individuals and families.
CRS director Susan Poole said the need this year is greater than last.
“In the past year we’ve been steady,” Poole said. “But we’ve seen an increase of 9 to 10 percent since last year.”
Poole said the organization is currently serving 500 families and food is distributed as soon as it arrives.
“Right now the pantry is looking pretty bare,” Poole said.
The summer proved to be extra busy due to the addition of another children’s program.
“We added a summer snack bag program for families with kids home for the summer,” Poole said. “That was a very popular program.”
The SOUPer Bowl, which also accepts cash/check donations as well as non-perishable foods, has been a smash hit.
“It’s always been a great turnout,” Poole said. “Last year the cash equivalent was 41,000 pounds of food.
For each $1 donation, the donating city is credited with $5 of food.
Last year’s SOUPer Bowl winner was Avon Lake, eking out a win after collecting almost the same amount of cash contributions as Avon, but collecting approximately 1,000 more pound in food. Avon Lake tallied the equivalent of 20,877 of food while Avon collected 19,860 pounds.
Poole said staples including soups, canned fruits and veggies, peanut butter and jelly and cleaning supplies and paper supplies are especially needed.
“That includes dishwashing and laundry detergent,” Poole said. “You can’t use food stamps for non-food items.”
Buy a T-shirt, support your city’s effort
To honor the friendly competition, T-shirts are available for purchase at Randall’s Team Shop located, appropriately, at the Avon-Avon Lake border at 690 Avon Belden Rd., is selling T-shirts.
Avon and Avon Lake designs are available for $12 each in sizes small through adult 5x.
For each team shirt sold, the store will donate $3, or the equivalent of 15 pounds of food, to the town the shirt supports.
Poole said sales of last year’s T-shirts raised $459.
“The competition was so close last year that money was a huge factor,” Poole said.