By John Toole
---- — WINDHAM — The Jaguars are in the Souperbowl.
That isn’t a misspelling and, no, Tom Brady won’t be on the other sideline.
This Souperbowl, set for tomorrow night, aims to tackle a much tougher opponent, homelessness, whose teammates include hunger and poverty.
But the Jaguars are pumped.
“We hope to raise at least $1,500 for New Horizons soup kitchen and shelter,” Windham High art teacher Hannah Jane Cole said.
Manchester-based New Horizons for New Hampshire is an adult homeless shelter that operates a food pantry and soup kitchen.
The agency estimates more than 2,400 people are homeless in New Hampshire on any given day.
The state has seen about an 18 percent increase in homelessness since 2010.
The Jaguars bring experience to the big game and they will need it, because as everyone knows homelessness just won’t quit.
“This is the second time we have run this event here at Windham High School,” Cole said.
The Jags will be loaded with talent. Though Windham High is the driving force, this is an all-out effort by the community.
“I would guesstimate that at least 200 people will have volunteered to make this happen through donations, artistic creations or coming to the dinner on Saturday,” Cole said.
A hearty soup dinner is at the heart of the event, but what makes it special is the handmade bowls crafted by the people of Windham.
“Our goal has been to bring as many people from the community together to create art and support a great cause,” Cole said. “Thus far, we have had participants of all ages and abilities: 4-year-olds and octogenarians, professional potters and first-timers.”
Windham High senior Jeffrey Trovato is among the volunteers.
“I feel proud and blessed that our community is able to come together to combat hunger in such a fun, creative and tasty way,” he said. “I am even more thankful that I could be part of it.”
Cole said Trovato spearheaded the student efforts.
“This would not have been possible without all the Windham High School students who helped along the way,” she said.
Supporting the effort are the Girl Scouts, Windham Artists Create and Inspire, town Community Development director Laura Scott, Shaw’s supermarket, The Common Man, Al Letizio Sales and Marketing, Windham Deli, Tuscan Kitchen, Windham Restaurant, Panera Bread, Culinary Capers and Kumo Sushi.
The Souperbowl kicks off at 5 p.m. and will end at 7 p.m.
A suggested donation of $15 is requested per person or $30 for a family.
The meal includes soup, bread, and one of those coveted bowls, hand-made by a friend or neighbor.