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Souper Bowl Sunday looks to help feed Ashe County’s hungry

Originally published: Feb. 1, 2013
Last modified: Feb. 1, 2013

Heather Canter

Sunday is a big day for Ashe County, and it’s not just because the most epic football game of the season will be held. It’s Souper Bowl Sunday.

For the past 10 years, the event has been held in the county and is marked by area church members taking food, financial and other donations to church with them to donate to Ashe Really Cares for the food and clothing pantry.

“One in four adults in Ashe County does not know where their next meal is coming from and one in three children in Ashe County does not know where their next meal is coming from,” according to Ashe Baptist Association’s director of missions, David Blackburn, who got his statistics from the 2nd Harvest Food Bank of Winston-Salem and Feed America.

Because of these statistics, area churchgoers want to do their part to reach out to those in need in the community by participating in Souper Bowl Sunday.

The collection day has been a major success through the years, according to Blackburn.

Last year, more than $1,100 in cash, 7,150 cans of soup, 21 50-pound bags of potatoes and other canned items were collected for the one-day event by participating churches.

Blackburn said this is a boost for ARC, which serves an average of 200 families each month.

Items that can be donated on the Sunday collection day include canned food, garden items, toys, children’s books and clothing that is new or in excellent condition. Financial donations are also accepted.

“ARC always needs food and money to help purchase food,” Blackburn said.

Anyone can participate on Sunday and donations can be taken to ARC, located at 204 Beaver Creek School Road in West Jefferson. ARC’s donation drop-off hours are 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

ARC provides a variety of items and outreach in Ashe County, including food, clothing as well as electric and heating assistance when money is available, children’s books and Bibles for adults as well as Sunday school literature.

“We make recommendations of additional help as well as provide an opportunity to have someone pray with our clients if they want prayer time,” Blackburn said. “We do not force it on anyone, but we are available to pray with them.”

ARC is a self-described outreach arm of the churches of Ashe County. According to their mission statement, they were organized to meet the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of people in Ashe County.

In addition to the food and clothing pantry and emergency assistance, ARC also seeks to offer spiritual guidance through sharing the plan of salvation and the giving of Bibles and sending church referrals if it is requested by the client.

The center is ran by one full-time employee, Director Pat Miller, with assistance from one part-time employee, Mattie Latham. However, with the work of sorting, stacking and stocking donations and being available to assist clients, 66 volunteers are utilized each week.

For more information about ARC, to volunteer with the group or to make a donation, contact Miller at (336) 846-5234 or by email at (ashereallycares@yahoo.com)

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