West U Elementary ‘Souper Stars’ Donate More than 14 Tons of Food to Houston Food Bank

February 7, 2012

Last week, West University Elementary students participated in the national service project, Souper Bowl of Caring, which was started by a seminary intern serving at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC in 1990.

Full boxes at West University Elementary School awaiting pickup by the Houston Food Bank. Photo by Sabrina Brannen

The idea was to rally people across the country in the fight against hunger the week before the Super Bowl. In the 22 years since, nationwide donations have grown geometrically. Last year, 3,241 groups generated $5,362,594 in cash and food items for local charities. This year, West University Elementary students pledged to donate 18,000 pounds of food toward the nationwide goal.

They exceeded that pledge by more than 10,000 pounds.

Many youngsters asked their parents to purchase canned goods for them to donate, but for some, that wasn’t enough.

First grader, Evelyn Shatto and second graders Jenna Mercado and Miriam Shatto joined forces with third graders Audrey Durham and triplets Allison, Lauren and Sarah Aungier to set up a lemonade stand.

“We wanted to raise even more money to buy food,” Allison Aungier said. They collected $65.47 in sales, which they used to purchase 46 food items—including their favorites, peanut butter and tuna—to donate.

“There are people who don’t have enough food. I don’t want them to be hungry,” Kindergartner Ryan Gatto said

Students collected a whopping 28,145 pounds of food, all of which went directly to the Houston Food Bank and will help provide 23,454 meals for Houston’s hungry.

And their efforts don’t stop there.

Many families who were inspired by the students’ involvement in the effort to end hunger in Houston are planning to volunteer at the Houston Food Bank so that the kids will see their donations at work.