EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – For the 7th year, the Hunger Bowl football game between Mater Dei and Memorial helps raise money for the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Evansville. But Hunger Bowl co-chairs Mark Hackert and John Sandwell say this time a record $25,000 was raised for the pantry.

“This was definitely the largest we’ve ever done,” says Hackert. “Last year we were at $22,000. It has grown from about $3,500 the first year.” Sandwell adds, “When they go by, you look in the bucket and sometimes you’re just astounded by what’s in there.”

Hackert and Sandwell also serve with the Knights of Columbus, who helped organize the event. They say word of mouth and an eagerness to help those in need are driving the event’s popularity.

“When you walk in and you tell Sister (Donna Herr), ‘Well it looks like we’re going to be around here this year’, the look on her face makes it worth while and keeps us coming back,” says Sandwell.

“We’re just grateful that we can be in this area and help people who are working,” says Sister Herr. “A lot of people working are just not making enough to pay all their bills, so we’re just privileged that we’re able to serve.”

In August alone, St. Vincent de Paul gave a 4 day supply of groceries to over 3,000 individuals in more than 13-hundred households. Sister Herr says this donation will be enough to cover all of the pantry’s bills for at least six weeks.

“The local community, the various groups, the Knights, we wouldn’t be able to operate without the assistance of so many generous donors,” says Sister Herr. Hackert adds, “It’s humbling to have all these people doing this kind of giving.”

“The bottom line is we have no idea where this is going,” explains Sandwell, “but we’ll hang around until Sister tells us to stop.”