Soup Can Story: From a Soup Can to a Coffee Can

Post a Comment » Written on May 24th, 2013     
Filed under: General
In response to this Covenant Newswire story about CWR no longer being able to use our familiar Campbell’s soup-style label, we have received a number of touching stories about how the soup cans have touched the lives of individuals, families, and churches.

Below is an inspiring story from the Hoden Family about giving generously. The Hodens originally wrote the story for the Covenant Companion back in the early 1990s. We are grateful that they have shared it with us again!

In the fall of 1991, our family joined others in Salem Covenant Church in Duluth, Minnesota, in filling a soup can for Covenant World Relief. For many weeks the can sat on our kitchen table as we dropped our spare change into the coin slot at the top. Our kids were excited about helping hungry children – children just like them, except that these children were starving and weak, even dying. Each evening we prayed the table grace printed on the label and quickly memorized it – even our three year old.

But when we emptied the contents of the can on World Relief Sunday, we were embarrassed and ashamed by how little we had actually collected! Our thirteen year old looked at us and said, “We could have done better.”

About that same time I saw the picture in the Companion of Tim Ek [who was the director of CWR at the time] holding six-week-old twins in Burkino Faso. That picture said it all! It made world hunger facts and statistics so real. I cut it out and stuck it on the refrigerator as a constant reminder. At supper we showed the picture to our children. We read the s tory of Fatima – eight months pregnant, fleeing her war-torn Kurdish village, unable to successfully nurse her newborn son, Haiki, because she was so malnourished herself.

We were humbled when we thought of how much we had.

Our teenage son, Steve, suggested we have a hunger can on our table all year long. We knew we could do better! The can grew from a soup to a coffee can. Our seven-year-old son, Matthew, decorated the can with pictures from the Companion. The can became a source of conversation throughout the year as friends and visitors asked, “What’s that for?” Its contents were regularly dumped on the table and counted, and our three year old often reminded us to pray for “the children in Africa.”

With joy and thanksgiving we emptied this year’s can and sent along $225 for Covenant World Relief. We desire to live like Jesus. We fall short, but we are trying. We’ll have another hunger can on our table this year. We encourage others to do the same.

Note: The Hodens have still continued their CWR coffee can tradition! Even though their children are all grown, they still have a coffee can on their table and continue to collect money in it throughout the year.

We are grateful that the soup cans make such an impact, both for the individuals and families who use them and for those around the world who benefit from them. If you have a story you would like to share, please send it to us at covenantworldrelief(at) or by mail to Covenant World Relief, 8303 W. Higgins Rd, Chicago, IL 60631. Thank you!

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