Amy Donaldson, Deseret News
A local company threw a Super Bowl party for the Road Home's Palmer Court residents, complete with pizza, chips, cupcakes and soda. There were also games for the kids, in case they lost interest in the game.

SALT LAKE CITY – Andrew Kettles and Norman Pierce don’t really follow professional football, and they didn’t really care who won Super Bowl Llll.

But they were excited to attend the Super Bowl party at Palmer Court Sunday afternoon, along with dozens of other residents, because it was a chance to focus on something trivial, insignificant and awesome.

Palmer Court is the Road Home’s permanent supportive housing development. The residents living there may not know or care about football, but they’re certainly grateful for the opportunity to do what millions of Americans across the country did on Sunday – gathered with friends for food and football – thanks to a local company’s generosity.

“It’s a chance to socialize,” said Pierce, a 48-year-old California native who says he’s a Broncos fan but reluctantly cheered for New England. “I’m as grateful as can be to be here.”

Kettles, also from California, has planned the community’s Super Bowl party the last four years.

“They give me 70 hot dogs, and about eight or 10 people show up,” he said, noting that he was rooting for the Rams. “I make sure all the kids get a hot dog.”

The 59-year-old, who found his way to Utah after several months working on a fishing boat in Alaska 18 years ago, was thrilled to surrender the party planning to

“This is the nicest it’s ever been, especially all the food,” he said, waving his hand in the direction of the decorations, which included balloons, Super Bowl-themed table cloths and cupcakes. “This is great.”

The idea for the party came from media relations specialist Cosette Jarrett, who was decorating for the party hours before kickoff between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.

“We’re a Utah-based company, and a lot of us grew up in Utah and saw all the really cool stuff the Road Home does,” she said of the company that helps consumers compare prices and offerings from various cable providers. “We really want to work with the Road Home in some capacity, and this seemed like a natural fit to stream American’s most beloved televised event for their residents.”

She knows the party won’t change anyone’s life.

It won’t solve any problems.

“It’s a small gesture,” she said. “It’s just a Super Bowl party.”

It is the simplicity of the gesture that moved the residents. Kettles and Pierce said they have gatherings like this for Thanksgiving, Christmas and a picnic in the summer. They are celebrations most residents relish.

Jarrett said she and her colleagues planned to watch the game at various parties anyway, so when she suggested taking a celebration to Palmer Court, her colleagues embraced the idea.

“We all love sports, especially the Super Bowl,” she said about two hours before residents were supposed to arrive. “It’s special for us, but what if we made it special for other people this year?”

1 comment on this story

So 17 pizzas, 200 cupcakes, dozens of bags of chips and a cooler full of soda later, the large plain room at Palmer Court was transformed into a massive Super Bowl event. There were games and coloring books for kids, just in case they grew restless during the four-ish hour game.

On this afternoon, the residents of Palmer Court could spend a few hours arguing over missed calls and bad plays. They could eat too much and laugh too hard.

“We hope it’s memorable,” Jarrett said. “We hope they’re able to watch the game, and there will be kids here, so we hope that they remember that someone did this for them, and that it’s just a really good day.”