Congregrations Team Up to Throw Super Bowl Bash for Homeless
By Mary Ann Ford
BLOOMINGTON — On Feb. 3, people across the nation will go to their friends' houses for Super Bowl parties, watching the big game on a big screen and eating lots of snacks.
The congregations of Moses Montefiore Temple and Wesley United Methodist Church want that same opportunity for those in the Twin Cities who are without homes — so they're having a Super Bowl Party for the homeless.
"We want to do something that gives them the sense of well-being, dignity." said Moses Montefiore Rabbi Lynn Goldstein. "They can come and have a good time and enjoy a well-earned party."
It's an effort Goldstein started when she served a congregation in St. Louis. The first party drew about 125 people; the fourth, 450.
Shortly after she became the rabbi of the Bloomington temple last summer, she suggested the idea to some Twin City clergy during a lunch.
"Vaughn (Hoffman, head pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church) said 'Let's talk about it.'" Goldstein said.
A month later, the two agreed to partner and offer the first Twin City event.
"Wesley people are getting extremely excited about it," said the Rev. Camilla Hempstead, associate pastor of the church and one of the party coordinators.
The event will take place in Wesley Hall at the Bloomington church. The game will be shown on a 10- by 30-foot, drop-down screen and the church is providing the food for dinner through its creative ministries project funds. There will be non-stop snacks, too, Goldstein said.
There will be a game room for those who either don't want to watch the Super Bowl, or just want a break from it and a separate activity-packed "kid care center" for children who attend with their parents.
Both congregations also are collecting various items, such as toiletries, new underwear and socks, gloves and mittens, books and gift cards to include in party bags attendees will be able to take when they leave.
Goldstein and Hempstead said a variety of Twin City businesses also have donated items.
"We want people to feel like they are loved, respected and cared about," said Goldstein. "It's a way they don't feel when they are checking into a shelter."
Tom Fulop, director of The Salvation Army Safe Harbor homeless center, said the party is definitely a positive environment.
"I hope it's a good turnout," he said.
Sabrina Burkiewicz, vice president of marketing and retail operations at Home Sweet Home Ministries, said residents there are excited about the opportunity.