MONROE — The Community Shelter of Union County is gearing up for the NFL’s annual Super Bowl by participating in the national Souper Bowl of Caring, a movement that capitalizes on the game’s energy to mobilize youth and other residents to care for people in their community who are experiencing hunger and homelessness.

The local campaign, sponsored by Birdseye Renewable Energy, benefits Community Shelter programs that provide emergency shelter, food and rehousing to Union County residents.

Last year’s campaign raised more than $35,256, according to the Shelter’s communications department, with Union County Public Schools’ combined donations through individual school campaigns totaling $21,604.

“Every year, individual schools in the UCPS system host fundraising drives for our Souper Bowl of Caring, typically raising $25,000 to $28,000 to feed the hungry and house the homeless in Union County,” said Melissa McKeown, chief executive officer of the Community Shelter, in a press release.

“Even last year, when schools were fighting the impact of the Covid virus, they stepped up, honoring their commitment to raise funds. We are so proud of the students and administration for participating in this fight that impacts every corner of our county.”

Weddington High School was the top fundraising school for the sixth consecutive year. The school raised $4,000, resulting in a combined $21,157 contribution since 2015.

Souper Bowl is also an annual event for many Union County churches. Faith-based, individual and business contributions totaled more than $13,652 last year.

“We are so appreciative of every group and every person who participates in the Souper Bowl,” said McKeown. “As a non-governmental organization, we depend on the support of individuals and groups to provide our services to those experiencing hunger and homelessness in our county.”

Souper Bowl runs through March 15, and any organization, school, business or family can participate. To learn how, contact Jeff Rogers at (704) 261-3083 or Jeff.Rogers@UnionShelter.org. You can contribute directly at www.UnionShelter.org/donate, by check mailed to 160 Meadow St., Monroe, 28110 or at www.justgiving.com/campaign/souperbowlunion.

For more information on the Community Shelter and how you can help, go to www.Union Shelter.org or call (704) 289-5300.