Thousands attend ‘Souper Bowl’

Raising money for Habitat for Humanity

Although Packers fans may not be looking forward to watching the Super Bowl this weekend without the green and gold in the game, they still found a reason to celebrate this weekend.

Habitat for Humanity of Dane County and hosted its 21st annual “Souper Bowl” at Madison West High School to raise money for the construction of affordable housing in the area. Habitat has helped over 250 families achieve home ownership in the 28 years the organization has been building.

The event is organized by five members of UW-Madison’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. It’s the chapter’s biggest fundraiser, attracting thousands of community members to enjoy a meal and entertainment. Soup comes in a hand-tossed ceramic bowl, constructed by community members and students throughout Dane County.

Community members also volunteered to serve soup at the event, including News 3’s own Velena Jones, Jessica Arp, Dannika Lewis and Gary Cannalte.

Jaffna Mathiaparanam, president of the UW Habitat chapter, said the members enjoy interacting with the community.

“We really like to involve college students with younger children, with people in the community, to just really give back to those in need and kind of pick up everybody in our community,” Mathiaparanam said.

The UW Habitat chapter sponsors one family per year, raising $30,000 to $35,000 that goes directly toward construction costs for building their house. Badgers in the group work closely with the families they sponsor and help with the construction of their house on Saturdays.

Valerie Johnson, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Dane County, said the Souper Bowl is scheduled for Super Bowl weekend every year so people will remember the two go hand-in-hand.

“It’s a fabulous way for the community to get involved, have some soup, salad and dessert and take home a ceramic bowl while helping families improve their lives,” Johnson said.