Soup or Bowl: A Game and Service Project for Super Bowl Sunday

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This combination game and service project is played in relay style by teams of young people with cans of soup that they bring as donations for the local food pantry.

This combination game and service project is played in relay style by teams of young people with cans of soup that they bring as donations for the local food pantry.

Suggested Time: A minimum of 10 minutes, or as long as the group wants to play

Group Size: Six to eight people in small groups, with each small group forming a relay team.

Materials Needed

  • masking tape
  • basketballs, one for each team
  • donated cans of soup
  • newsprint and markers


Preparation. Before the gathering send a message to the participants telling them to bring cans of soup to donate to people who are poor. Mention that the more cans they bring, the more fun they will have at this event.

Create a bowling lane for each group of six to eight people as follows: With masking tape mark a ball line and a pyramid line at opposite ends of the meeting space. Place a basketball on the ball line.

1. Divide the young people into small groups of six to eight people and assign each group a bowling lane. Direct the members of each team to stack the cans of soup they brought into a pyramid on the line you marked earlier. Tell half the members of each team to line up in back of their pyramid. Those people are the stackers. The other half of each team should line up in back of their basketball. Those are the bowlers.

Explain the following rules in your own words:

The person who is first in the bowling line will roll the ball toward the stack of cans. The team gets a point for every can that falls off its pyramid when the ball hits it. Throwing is not allowed. If a bowler throws the ball, the team gets no points.

When the ball hits the stack, the bowler runs to the end of the stacking line. Meanwhile the stackers reset the pyramid as quickly as they can. The pyramid must be stacked the same way every time.

When the pyramid has been restacked, the first person in the stacking line runs to the end of the bowling line. When he or she reaches the line, the next bowler rolls the ball, and the team follows the same process for bowling, stacking, and rotating places. The game continues until you call time. Keep score on newsprint. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

2. After the game donate the cans of soup to a local food pantry.


  • Follow the game with a soup supper.
  • Challenge other groups in the parish or other youth groups to a soup-or-bowl tournament and award prizes to the winners. For the young person who brings the most cans of soup, provide gift certificates to a fast-food restaurant or a bag of snack food. Give the tournament winners plastic soup bowls--blue bowls for the first-place team, red bowls for second place, and yellow bowls for third. End the tournament with a soup supper.
  • Instead of knocking down cans, use an actual bowling game with pins and balls, and award cans of soup for the top score after each round. Also give prizes to the team with the most cans at the end of the game.
  • Help the young teens run a soup-or-bowl tournament for young children. You may want to use empty soup cans and soft foam balls for the game itself.
  • Ask the entire parish to bring cans of soup to Mass on Super Bowl Sunday.


  • Isa. 58:7 (Share your bread with the hungry.)
  • Matt. 25:35-40 (I was hungry, and you gave me food.)
  • James 2:14-17 (Put faith into action.)


(This activity is taken from Holiday and Seasonal Ideas for Ministry with Young Teens, a manual in the HELP series, by Carole Goodwin and Marilyn Kielbasa [Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press, 2000], pages 20-22. Copyright © 2000 by Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this activity to be used for classroom or campus ministry purposes. This activity may not be republished in any form without written permission from Saint Mary's Press. To order this book, contact Saint Mary's Press at 800-533-8095, or visit our online catalog at

Published December 17, 2003.