Churches, Schools and Organizations Combine Efforts for A Souper Collection

By Friday, 3850 non-perishable items were collected for the Southland Souper Bowl of Caring event.

It was a combined effort for the Southland Souper Bowl of Caring on February 4. Pictured from left to right are First Baptist Church Pastor Stephen Jones, Red Bridge Food Pantry Co-Director Sue Hanson, Community Assistance Council Director April Diaz, Episcopal Community Services President Beau Heyen, Red Bridge Food Pantry Co-Director Dixie Kelly, St. Thomas More Pastoral Associate David Butel, St. Peter and all Saints Deacon Donna Stanford, Sisters of Charity Director of Associates Terri Butel, and St. Thomas More Reverend Justin Hoye.

Event Collects Over 3800 Items for Community Assistance Council

 Photos and Story By Brad Lucht

 Soup and caring went together hand-in-hand at the first annual Southland Souper Bowl of Caring held this past Saturday at the First Baptist Church in Red Bridge.  Organized by Episcopal Community Services (ECS), over 3000 items were gathered for the Red Bridge Food Pantry. 

“It’s a good time of year for this, because donations are hard to come by in January,” said Beau Heyen, President and CEO of ECS.

 The Red Bridge Food pantry is a satellite pantry of the Community Assistance Council.  Between 25 and 30 families are assisted each month.  Over the last year over 9000 items were distributed from the pantry to 195 families.


Volunteers stock the pantry. In the end, 3850 items were donated.



Red Bridge Elementary School a Big Contributor

 To celebrate the 100th day of school, students at Red Bridge Elementary had a contest to see which class could collect the most food.  “They had a pickup truck that was just jammed,” exclaimed Stephen Jones, Pastor of the First Baptist Church.  The students collected over 900 items; because they exceeded their goal of 100 items per class, every student enjoyed a Popsicle reward.

 First Baptist Church of Kansas City Missouri, First Church of the Nazarene, Red Bridge Church of Christ, St. Peter & All Saints Episcopal Church, and St. Thomas More Catholic Church all joined in to help with the food drive. 

 Also on hand were students from Park Hill South High School, who helped sort donations.  In all, over 50 volunteers were on hand to help restock the pantry. 

“Our church brought a huge load over,” said Sheri Runge, administrative assistant at St. Peter & All Saints.  Boy Scout Troop 1046, associated with the church, delivered over 500 pounds of food as their part of the contribution.

Donations were accepted at First Baptist through Friday, February 10. A total of 3850 items were collected by end of day.

The idea for the Southland Souper Bowl of Caring came about during the region’s first Hunger Summit. “I have worked with Souper Bowl of Caring for several years in Dallas and Houston, and I am excited to see South KC come together for what I hope becomes an annual event,” said Heyen, “Kansas City is known for being a community of compassionate neighbors. This event is our way to join together in celebration of that spirit.”


Volunteers and contributors sat down for a well-deserved meal.


 Soup Kitchen Coming to South KC

 ECS also operates Kansas City Community Kitchen at 8th and Paseo, and is working with the Community Assistance Council to identify a location in South Kansas City for an addition kitchen.  “It will probably be in the Hickman Mills/Raytown area,” said Mandy Caruso-Yahne, Director of Community Engagement for ECS.

 After the pantry had been restocked, the volunteers sat down to a well-deserved soup and chili supper. 

 The next South Kansas City Hunger Summit will be held Saturday, March 18, 11:30 a.m., at the First Baptist Church.  It will focus on planning future events to raise awareness of hunger in South Kansas City.  For more information, visit

 Food Pantry Pickup Day is the third Saturday of each month.  The Red Bridge Food Pantry is located at the First Baptist Church, 100 W Red Bridge Rd, Kansas City, MO 64114.  Phone: (816) 942-1866.  


1 thought on “Churches, Schools and Organizations Combine Efforts for A Souper Collection

  1. Lovely article! Great to see community efforts to bring people together and spread hope and cheer!

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