Paige Gladstein, Jay Spaulding and Harley Jeanty are juniors at Wilton High School, who are scoring some amazing philanthropy points in advance of this weekend’s Super Bowl. As youth group leaders for the Person-to-Person (P2P) food pantry and assistance agency in South Norwalk, they are organizing a “SOUPerbowl” campaign at WHS running all week, Feb 1-5. They are asking all WHS students to donate soup to help stock the shelves at Person to Person.

The effort is part of P2P’s campaign to ‘score’ 5,000 cans of hearty soup for the clients they serve.

Since it’s something that’s related to the big championship of football, pitting the two teams against one another, the kids have also upped the ante by making the food donation effort a friendly competition between area high schools, to see which school can collect the most soup.

Callie Jayne, the Norwalk site manager for P2P, came up with this fantastic idea in light of the upcoming Super Bowl and asked us to put it together,” Gladstein explains about bringing the campaign to the students. “She thought it would be a fun, friendly competition between a few of the other high schools that P2P serves—Norwalk, Wilton, Westport and Weston.

Gladstein says that soup will be accepted between now and Friday, Feb. 5. “Soup is a big non-perishable item that is much needed in the winter months,” she adds.

Soup cans  can be put in a bin that the kids have placed in the lobby of Wilton High School. Donations will be picked up on Monday, Feb. 8 and weighed to see which high school has collected the most. And while there isn’t necessarily a material prize, P2P’s Jayne knows what the real prize is:  “the joy of knowing that you’ve helped, and bragging rights!”

Knowing that they’re helping is part of the motivation Gladstein and her friends got involved. “A family friend of ours volunteers there which got me interested in the organization. I volunteered over the summer and saw how valuable the food pantry was in getting food and clothes to people in the community who otherwise struggle to put food on their table.”

The three have put in the extra time to take leadership positions in P2P’s youth group. “We went through a leadership training class this fall. There are a few other youth group leaders from Westport and Norwalk as well,” Gladstein explains.

She’s hoping that other WHS students will join them.

“Aside from the three of us I am not sure if other kids from Wilton High School volunteer there right now. We are looking to change that by trying to recruit new volunteers. Students can volunteer after school or on Saturday mornings during the school year or during vacation breaks and over the summer as well. Anyone is welcome.”

There are various ways for Wilton residents to take part, in addition to having WHS students bring in donations.
Now through Sunday, Feb. 7, shop online at Peapod to have the soups delivered directly to P2P. Or make an online donation
and P2P shoppers will buy the soups directly.