Celebrate ‘Souper Bowl’ to benefit Zoe

January 29, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

BY SUSAN HANAFEE – Super Bowl Sunday will take on a new meaning at the Lighthouse United Methodist Church on Feb. 7 as local chefs and volunteers offer a delicious variety of soups for sale to benefit orphaned children.

Soups are $5 for a 16-ounce carton, payable in advance or at the time of pick-up. Orders must be placed no later than Wednesday, Feb. 3 by calling 941-964-2479 or emailing info@bglighthouseumc.com.

Available soups include: Shrimp Andouille by Chef J. T. Turner; Lobster Bisque by Chef Greg Foos, executive chef of the Boca Grande Club; Taco Soup by Chris Steinhelper; Cream of Mushroom by Kathy Peters and Chicken Noodle by Pat Witschonke.

The idea of selling soup originated with Kathy Peters, who joined the Boca Grande church in August as coordinator of family ministries. “In all my previous churches we had always done Super Bowl events. Recruiting the chefs was easy. Everyone stepped up and said, ‘Yeah, I can do that.’”

The money raised will benefit ZOE Empowers, which the church’s Sunday School and adult congregation support through two programs. ZOE was originally created as a relief mission to respond to the 2004 HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. Over the years it has changed into an organization that helps orphaned children become self-supporting. Instead of giving away resources and creating a cycle of dependency, social workers teach orphans how to create their own businesses, while caring for themselves and their siblings.

Chris Steinhelper surrounded by ZOE children who are learning how to take care of themselves. Photo by Ross Witschonke

In 2019, several members of the church, including the Rev. Dr. Matthew Williams, traveled to Rwanda and Kenya where they met with Epiphanie Mujawimana, who created the empowerment model, and also with many of the children in the program.

Chris Steinhelper and Pat Witschonke, who both made the trip to Africa, are among the soup makers. After seeing the ZOE program in action, their concoctions will likely have an extra measure of love.

Peters says the volunteer chefs had their choice of what they wanted to make. “We just made sure that we had beef, chicken and vegetarian – something for everyone.”

The soup will be available for pickup at the Methodist Church entrance on Gilchrist between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Feb. 7.