KC, Philadelphia areas both win in food drive competition


A down-to-the-wire finish with Kansas City triumphing over Philadelphia.

That was the case with not only Super Bowl LVII with the Chiefs edging the Eagles, but with the nearby United Methodist conferences of both teams, gathering nonperishable items for food pantries in their areas.

The reality is both communities won. The final score?

The Kansas City side – the Great Plains and Missouri conferences — totaled 105,367 pounds (55,367 for the Great Plains, 50,000 for Missouri).

Eagles backers — the Eastern Pennsylvania and Greater New Jersey conferences — totaled 74,560.

We had to go to the instant replay in one call, since a major contributor on the Chiefs side registered its count in bags and not pounds, until clarification was made.

Unlike what happened on the field at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, between Kansas City and Philadelphia, the results here won’t result in bragging rights and bright red championship T-shirts, but in the satisfaction of collecting food for those in need in the communities in all four annual conferences.

“It was exciting to see this friendly competition between all of us and to see how quickly people mobilized,” Great Plains Bishop David Wilson said of the contest, announced the Tuesday before Super Bowl Sunday. “We knew it was quick notice, but we knew it’d be fun.”

Bishop Wilson said he was impressed with the energetic way churches in Kansas and Nebraska helped collect the items.

“There was already excitement in this area about having an NFL team in the Super Bowl, and the second piece is people being aware of the need and quickly raising money, collecting food for people in need in their communities. That was pretty cool,” he said. “The game, of course, was amazing, but to see churches excited about helping to feed those needed it was cool.”

Bishops Wilson and Bob Farr, Missouri’s episcopal leader, had a friendly wager with Bishop John Schol, who oversees the Eastern Pennsylvania and Greater New Jersey conferences, over the game and the food raised.

For winning the Super Bowl, Bishop Schol is sending the cabinets of Missouri and the Great Plains Philly cheesesteaks and goodies from Tastykake, headquartered in Philadelphia.

Bishops Wilson and Farr, in turn, are sending Kansas City barbecue to the Eastern Pennsylvania and Greater New Jersey offices.

“It blew me away. It was amazing,” Bishop Farr said in a video on the Missouri Conference Facebook page. “Imagine the good that was done for people in both areas because of the Super Bowl and the United Methodists in the area who took the opportunity to do something more than just watch a game.”

Bishop Schol, a Philadelphia native who has led the New Jersey Conference since 2004 and became interim leader for Eastern Pennsylvania in 2021, said this was the first food drive of this kind for either conference.

“We had not done this before, so this is a first time and a first opportunity for us,” he said in a video. “We learned we can work together and make a difference; that we can all come together and serve our communities.”

And just like the hopes of Kansas City fans, it’s a dynasty in the making.

“You’ve inspired to do this every year, whether the three football teams in our area are in the Super Bowl or not,” Bishop Schol said, referencing the Eagles, and the New York Giants and Jets franchises.

Bishop Wilson said he and Bishop Farr agreed.

“We need to do this every year, regardless of who might be playing,” Bishop Wilson said. “We’re planning to do this from here on out.

“We all had such a good time and Bishop Schol was quick on acknowledging us whether we got it or not. We did what we needed to do,” he added. “That was pretty neat.”

See a photo gallery of churches and their contributions from across the Great Plains.
Video by Eugenio Hernandez, multimedia production specialist (ehernandez@greatplainsumc.org). Story by David Burke, content specialist (dburke@greatplainsumc.org).

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