It’s that time of year again.All across the U.S. folks will gather together on Sunday, not to worship, butto watch the 47thSuper Bowl and – thanks to an increasing popularity due to “cute overload” –Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl 9. Someeven started the festivities early here in Philly at today’s Wing Bowl 21. Whilemillions will scarf down junk food and alcohol in mass quantities this weekend,folks at the Joan Karnell CancerCenter (JKCC) at PennsylvaniaHospital celebrated earlier in the week with much healthier food choices atits first ever “Souper Bowl.”

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Relay forLife Walk Chair, Michelle Rumbaugh and cancer survivor and JKCC volunteer PamBarr are shown here setting up for the Center’s first Souper Bowl.

Held January 29, the JKCC decided to host the Souper Bowl to helpsupport their inaugural team participating in the annual American CancerSociety’s Relay for Life. Eachyear, over four million people from over 20 countries partake in the globalcommunity walk to raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives fromcancer. During a Relay event, participants and cancer survivors celebrate whatthey’ve overcome and run a victory “Survivors Lap.” This year’s Relay for Life ofSouth Philadelphia will be held Saturday, May 19, at Marconi Plaza, on Broad Street,between Oregon and Packer Avenues,

“The Souper Bowl was a pilotevent,” said Marylou Osterman, JKCC coordinator. “We wanted to come up with afun and creative new way to raise funds and support our team.” They succeeded.In only two hours, the Souper Bowl raised almost $500 - 50 percent of the JKCCteam goal of $1,000.

The Souper Bowl was a teameffort across the board. Staff chipped to cook up five different kinds ofhomemade soups, cornbread and desserts. Guests were also treated to a souptoppings bar and all the butteredrolls they could eat. Bowls and flatware were donated to the event by theDepartment of Food and Nutrition at Pennsylvania Hospital.

“It wasnice to take time away from our busy schedules, spend some time withcolleagues, friends and former patients and contribute to a great cause – allat the same time,” said Alan L. Schuricht, MD, FACS, clinicalprofessor of Surgery. “Thesoups were great but the company was better.”

To help supplement supplies (and make surethere was plenty to go around) the JKCC purchased ten additional quarts of soupfrom MANNA. Formally, theMetropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance, MANNA prepares and delivers nourishing meals to individuals in Philadelphiawho are at acute nutritional risk and battling life-threatening illnesses suchas cancer, renal disease and HIV/AIDS. Between MANNA and staff contributions,approximately 75 supporters, for only a five dollar donation each, were able toenjoy a creamy corn chowder, holiday bean soup with ham, chili con carne,Italian escarole soup with little meatballs, or a curried cauliflower soup.Proceeds to MANNA from the JKCC helped to provide a balanced, nutritious mealfor 50 people.

“It was great to break away frommy desk and attend the Souper Bowl party. I had a great time hanging outwith coworkers and meeting people from other departments. The food wasfantastic, especially the Turkey Chili with all the toppings,” said Cynthia J.Briola, RN, OCN, CBCN, Cyberknife Program Coordinator.

Well, it looks as if all those books wereright:  chicken soup – or any soup forthat matter – is indeed good for the soul.

Wantto learn more about nutrition and the healing power of foods? Visit the JKCC’s CancerFighting Cupboard on Penn Medicine’sFocus on Cancer blog which provides nutrition news, information and tips andhealthy recipes. 

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