Millions of Americans attended a Super Bowl party last Sunday, but how many attended a Super Soul Party?
Three years ago, rabbi and social media star Meir Kay launched the Super Soul initiative. The concept is simple: A Super Bowl party for homeless people.
It started in New York, grew to Los Angeles, and this year took place in 20 cities across the US.
In Denver, Patrick Tcheunou took up Kay’s call. Tcheunou’s wife, Tamara (Mara), was contacted by a relative in Israel who heard of the initiative. The relative asked the Tcheunous if they knew of someone who could spearhead this. Patrick volunteered.
“I was very attracted by the idea,” the chemical engineer by profession told the IJN. (He’s also experimenting with chocolate making.)
“It’s an opportunity to connect directly with people experiencing homelessness. To talk to them and learn more about people. And to show people that they are not alone and that they can also be included in the Super Bowl night.
“Everybody is watching and drinking in bars and homes; they could also be somewhere where there’s a big screen, instead of outside,” Tcheunou says.
But he only had a short time to bring it all together — four weeks, to be exact. With support from the New York office of Super Soul Party, Tcheunou began searching for venues. The site, Salvation Army on 29th and High, was only finalized about two-and-a-half days before the Super Bowl.
Then he, together with videographer Alicia Bonilla, took to the streets, inviting people to the party. Salvation Army also put out the call, specifically to its Crossroads Center shelter.
The short notice, however, meant that Tcheunou fell short of his target: 30 guests. He says that Super Soul Party had about 30 participants in total, about half guests, the other half volunteers.
“I wish we would have reached our number,” he says. “More interactions would have been created.”
But, he says, the feedback from the guests was that they “really like the concept. They enjoyed the human connections, being in a nice space, watching the Super Bowl, the ads, eating good food.”
One enthusiastic guest was Bonny Michaelson. She was watching the Nachum Segal Network’s Kosher Halftime Show when she heard about Meir Kay’s Super Soul Party. Thrilled to hear that Denver was one of the locations, Michaelson drove right down to the Salvation Army to join the festivities.
The lower-than-desired turnout didn’t disenchant Tchenuou, who called it a “good challenge.”
He’s hoping to host a Super Soul Party for Super Bowl LV (February 7, 2021) and “make it even more rewarding for everybody involved. Understanding the day to day struggles of the guests is very important,” he says.
“I have a little bit more of a sense now of what they need. If you are not exposed, you cannot understand.”
But now that he knows about Super Soul Party, Tchenuou won’t start planning four weeks in advance. In fact he’s already planning on working again with Salvation Army.
Something else that made the guests happy: The Kansas City win. Tchenuou reports that around 90% were Chiefs’ supporters who were thrilled by the “huge comeback.”
The ultimate praise? Even Tchenuou, who admits he hasn’t watched much football since Peyton Manning’s retirement, called the victory “impressive.”
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