The 2022 Superbowl game was exciting for the youth of St Pauls UMC for more reasons than just the game. They got to empty a cooler of Gatorade over the head of their newly–appointed pastor, Rev. Beth Ann Cook.
When she arrived to her new appointment on February 1, a congregational food drive, “Souper Bowl Can Food Drive” was already in motion. The community of St Pauls UMC is nestled in Poseyville, IN, about 20 minutes outside of Evansville. It is is a town of 1,100 people. The goal was to collect 300 cans of soup for the food pantry, God’s Storehouse, which serves approximately 125 families per month in northern Posey County. Hearty cans of soups that can serve as stand–alone meals are desperately needed.
“There are lots of people in Poseyville who don’t have access to resources like they would if they were in a larger city. Rural poverty is its own thing,” said Pastor Beth Ann.
The goal of 300 cans began to change when a funny image on Facebook went around the St Pauls UMC community that said, “You should be as excited about church as you are for Superbowl Sunday. So when your pastor makes a good point this Sunday, pour Gatorade over his head.”
The game was on: if the church could double their goal of 600 cans of soup, Pastor Beth Ann agreed that they could pour a cooler of Gatorade over her head. The congregation met and surpassed this goal, collecting 932 cans of soup.
Prior to the Superbowl, Pastor Beth Ann joined the St Pauls youth group where a cooler of Gatorade—orange in support the Cincinnati Bengals—was poured over her head.
“It was cold, wet, and sticky,” said Pastor Beth Ann. “But I am always willing to make a fool of myself for Jesus, if it puts the attention on Him and what He’s called us to do. I don’t mind looking a little foolish.”
For God’s Storehouse, the gift of 932 cans of soup will make a big impact. While St Pauls UMC regards themselves as a small membership church, the food drive is a testimony that God can use churches of all sizes to make a big impact in feeding those in need.