Illustration by Patrick Yeung.

Next Sunday, 125 million Yankees will congregate on couches from sea to shining sea and consume excessive servings of beer, chicken wings, chips and dip.

Super Bowl Sunday is the epitome of an American holiday — perfectly nondenominational, food-oriented and capitalist.

It is our second most gluttonous day of the year after Thanksgiving, finishing slightly before Christmas.

Yet something troubling separates the Super Bowl from our other two favorite holidays: We Americans don’t think about those in need while we stuff our faces in February.

As a nation, we need to remember that though we are warm and uncomfortably full of bean dip and guacamole during America’s game, there are many Americans who have neither a home nor an abundance of food.

There should be the same focus on charity during Super Bowl Sunday as there is during Christmas or Thanksgiving. On our days of copious excess, we have the responsibility to give food or money to those in need.

Now, the first response many will have to this statement is, “Christmas and Thanksgiving are a little different than the Superbowl.”

And that is true — unlike the Super Bowl, both holidays have morality fables that work to inspire people to help or share with their fellow man.

But we should be better than that. We should not need stories to tell us how to treat people.

Americans will spend $55 million on food on Feb. 6. And yet, the holiday’s major food drive, the Souper Bowl of Caring, raised only $4,484 last year, with only 15 organizations participating. Less than $5,000? That amounts to 0.001 percent of the money that we spend on snack food going to charity.

Now, compare that amount to the money raised on Christmas. The Salvation Army in Walworth County, Wisc. raised almost $330,000 during the holiday season, according to a Jan. 6 story in the Walworth County Today.

The discrepancy between our desire to give in December and in February is unacceptable. On both days, family and friends gather, celebrate in each other’s company, devour huge meals and watch football.

The only real difference seems to be the moral tale.Though the Super Bowl is not infused with the church’s moral guilt or America’s imperial guilt, we must find other motivation to help the needy.

We may be gluttons, but we still must look out for our fellow Americans.

So, when you’re buying Doritos next weekend, think about the thousands of people in Santa Cruz alone who have neither adequate food nor shelter and give a little to the homeless.

Instead of stockpiling 50 cans of black beans for nachos, start a canned food drive at UCSC or in your neighborhood. When you are trying to decide what to spend your last dollars on, please take a moment and choose compassion.