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News » Student Prepares For Souper Bowl


Student Prepares For Souper Bowl


Student Prepares For Souper Bowl
The 20th annual event coordinates food drives on Super Bowl weekend for local charities.


By COURTNEY CAIRNS PASTOR

cpastor@tampatrib.com

CITRUS PARK - Melissa Daigneault is focused on the Super Bowl, but it's canned goods and not Football that has her attention.

Daigneault, a senior at Sickles High, is one of 19 students nationally serving on the youth advisory board for the Souper Bowl of Caring. The 20th annual event coordinates food drives on Super Bowl weekend for local charities through schools, churches, businesses and organizations.

With the Super Bowl coming to her backyard, Daigneault wants to make sure the Tampa area makes a strong showing, starting with her school. She is working with the student government, where she was elected senior class vice president, to run a carnival on Friday at Sickles. Admission and tickets for games will cost one or two cans.

"We've had fairs but never this kind," Daigneault said.

Students can also pay $1 or $2 in lieu of cans, which Daigneault said the student government would take to Publix and use to buy nonperishable items. All the food will go to Metropolitan Ministries.

As a board member in the Football game's host city, Daigneault said she has become the "go-to girl" to encourage community participation.

"It has been a great opportunity for me," said Daigneault, who is considering a career in public relations. "I don't mind it consuming my life at all."

She attended training in South Carolina, where the Souper Bowl is based, and has promoted the cause on local radio stations. She recently addressed the Hillsborough County School Board at its annual student forum, asking for district support to get other schools as well.

Deputy Superintendent Ken Otero sent out a letter to principals praising Daigneault's work and encouraging other schools to sign up to collect donations. As of Jan. 21, 31 Hillsborough County schools had agreed to participate. Collections will take place until Feb. 14.

Time is short, but Daigneault has seen schools mobilize quickly before when they helped victims after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, hurricanes and other national disasters.

Feeding the hungry in a struggling economy should qualify as an urgent need, she said.

"It's a disaster right now," Daigneault said.

She heard about the Souper Bowl through the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . She volunteered for the team and was a member of the Bucs Student Advisory Board for two years.

She is also involved with a leadership team at St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Lutz. She had collected canned good donations there for the Souper Bowl but didn't know how widespread the food drive was until she got involved this year.

Last year, 89 groups in Tampa Bay raised almost $82,000 in money and food. So far this year, 120 groups are registered to participate, according to the Souper Bowl of Caring. Nationally, 15,000 groups participated in 2008.

Reporter Courtney Cairns Pastor can be reached at (813) 865-1503.

Photo credit: Photos from Soupre Bowl of Caring

Photo: Daigneault, left, has her photo taken with radio DJ Davis Watts after an interview about the Souper Bowl of Caring.

Photo: Sickles High senior Melissa Daigneault, right, attends a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game in the fall with her mother, Rosalind, left, her father, Tom, and her sister, Andrea.

Copyright ? 2009, The Tampa Tribune and may not be republished without permission. E-mail library@tampatrib.com



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 29, 2009

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