Ravens fans won't flock to Phoenix for the Super Bowl this year, but here at home, planning is well underway for the sixth annual Good Neighbors Group S(o)uper Bowl food drive.
For the second year in a row, the S(o)uper Bowl is being coordinated by Kathie Hamlett.
Held in conjunction with Super Bowl Sunday, the S(o)uper Bowl is a competition between neighborhoods intended to replenish local food pantries experiencing a lull following the busy holiday donation season. Neighborhood captains collect donations the week leading up to game day and tally their results.
“I see the need where the food banks are depleted,” said Hamlett, who also served as her own neighborhood’s captain last year. “This is just a fun event. Something we can do to help others and just enjoy doing it. It just brings a lot of joy to me and to all that participate.”
Hamlett’s volunteerism “started small,” as she explains, first helping with Thanksgiving meal deliveries, and eventually coordinating the Good Neighbors Group blood drives. Her friend, and Good Neighbors Group board member, Chris Myers, recalls a conversation around the time the group needed a new coordinator for the S(o)uper Bowl.
“Kathie had said to me, ‘I think I’m ready to take on something a little bit bigger, something else,’” Myers said. “The timing was perfect.”
In the months leading up to the big day, Hamlett reaches out to neighborhood captains from previous years to confirm their participation, works to recruit new neighborhoods, shares pantry information and ensures everyone knows where to drop off their donation haul on Super Bowl Sunday.
Julie Shay is the founder and executive director of Good Neighbors Group, and she said it’s been a pleasure to have Hamlett’s energy spearheading the S(o)uper Bowl Food Drive.
“There are so many pieces to keep track of, and having Kathie to collaborate with has been fantastic,” Shay said.
Communities of all sizes are encouraged to partake in the S(o)uper Bowl. This year, Hamlett is hoping to recruit more neighborhoods from Arnold.
“We have small neighborhoods with 11 houses, and we have neighborhoods with 900 houses,” Hamlett said, explaining that the competition is set up so that all participating have a chance to win.
Good Neighbors Group is partnering with five area pantries for the S(o)uper Bowl this year: ACAN, SPAN, My Brother’s Pantry, Anne Arundel County Food Bank and Celestial Manna.
“I have been here all of my adult life,” Hamlett said. “Parkies have big hearts, they do want to help others, and when they see a need they are absolutely ready to jump in and fulfill that need. And that’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.”
Super Bowl Sunday, and donation drop-off day for this year’s food drive, is February 12. Anyone interested in volunteering to be a neighborhood captain should email Kathie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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