Friday, February 10, 2017

Food Drive Illustrates #CollectiveGreatness

Students Prep Community Campaign Materials for Food Drive

As the city of Houston prepared to host the 2017 Super Bowl Game, three SBISD schools participated in another very important community experience: the Souper Bowl of Caring.

Every year since 1990, the Souper Bowl of Caring has encouraged youth and communities to come together around the time of the big game to help those in need. Students at Bunker Hill, Hunter’s Creek and Shadow Oaks Elementary schools heeded the call this year and challenged their schools and communities to collect food items and donations in the fight against hunger.

Since 2007, SBISD schools have collected over 16,200 food items and 750 pounds of food for the program. While the mission of the Souper Bowl of Caring is a simple one, the experience and lasting impact of the program are complex and powerful.

“Our students selected poverty as a topic they wanted to learn more about and explore ways to be active in supporting those in need,” said Hunters Creek fifth-grade teacher Jessica Murphy.

“My students discovered that poverty is the cause for hunger, homelessness, and job insecurity. They decided to tackle hunger first when the opportunity to participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring was presented,” she recalled.

And tackle it they did. Her students created a full-fledged communications campaign to spread the word and mobilize their peers. The intentional outreach was impactful and impressive.

“Fifth grade created posters, flyers for weekly folders, taught lessons to the younger grades, and went on the announcements to raise awareness about people in a hunger.  We asked for the school’s help so we could help others,” said fifth-grader Morgan Matherne.

With can collections growing on campus, students had tangible proof that initiative and hard work yield results.

“Students learned that if you want to change something you have to go for it. It is important for students to engage in community activities like this because in this world there are people who really need help and it's our job to help them,” said student Isabella Allon.

For Hunters Creek, those results were a total collection of 2,101 items of canned food, a collection exceeding their original goal by 101 canned items. Donations went to East Spring Branch Food Pantry, a food pantry in their school’s attendance zone and a donation likely to directly impact their community.

When asked why making a local impact was important, Hayden Haas was clear it was about driving change.

“We signed up this year for Souper Bowl of Caring because we wanted to make a change for our community,” he said. “The change was to make sure that people have enough healthy food to reach their needs."

Helping students develop this empowered insight and deeper understanding of others and the world is a critical lesson with far-reaching impact in achieving career and life goals from Murphy’s perspective.

“Many hardworking Americans are having a hard time. I think that was the biggest surprise for many of them,” she noted. 

Another lesson learned in this experience? No matter who you are, you can make a difference. “Souper Bowl of Caring is an amazing program. I have learned so much and my school has helped a lot of family's meet their food needs. From fifth grade to kinder, we all can help,” said student Olivia Mafrige.

The combined impact of these students is a testament to #collectivegreatness, one of the school district's Core Values.

“Anytime you give the control over to the students, you learn that they are more compassionate and more capable than we give them credit for. They have done a great job of being advocates for others in our community,” said Murphy as she proudly reflect on her students’ achievement and the power of working together.

For more information about the Souper Bowl of Caring, visit


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