For one in six people in the United States, going hungry is a reality. Millions of Americans are going hungry, according to Feeding America. It’s been said that one in four children in Cabell County doesn’t know where their next meal will come from.
Empty Bowls is trying to solve this problem in the Tri-State area.
The ninth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser will take place Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1015 Fifth Avenue.
Delegate Doug Reynolds has volunteered at Empty Bowls. Reynolds said, “I felt the event did a job of promoting local artisans and awareness of hunger in our community. With all the need in our community, it’s important not to forget too many of our neighbors go hungry. It was a great honor to be able to help as a volunteer, and I made sure to come back last year as a patron.”
The Marshall University College of Fine Arts is partnering with several local organizations to complete a successful Empty Bowls event, including B’nai Sholom Congregation, Christian Associates and Keramos Potters Guild.
The money raised by Empty Bowls will be presented to The Huntington Area Food bank, which serves 96,000 people each month in 17 counties. The Huntington City Mission is one place the Huntington Area Food Bank serves.
Lynn Clagg, Public Relations & Volunteer Coordinator for the Huntington City Mission, said, “homelessness is not always single individuals who have made poor choices. It can be joblessness that can turn into homelessness or our elderly not ready for retirement but lacking sufficient skills to have a good paying job.”
The Empty Bowls event offers a modest soup and bread lunch to remind people in the community many in our area go hungry. The $12 lunch will provide 64 meals from the food bank.
Owner of River and Rail Bakery in Heritage Station, Kim Baker, was eager to participate in Empty Bowls.
“As soon as I decided to open a bread bakery, I knew I wanted to donate bread to Empty Bowls,” she said. “For those of us who do not go hungry on a regular basis, we forget how important a simple bowl of soup and slice of bread can be. This event sheds light on simple necessities, and the bowls contributed by area potters can be constant reminders that we are blessed to have food to fill them.”
In addition to patrons purchasing lunch and a handcrafted ceramic bowl, the event also boasts a large silent auction. Countless businesses and organizations in Huntington have donated items to be included in the auction.
For Ralph Hagy, owner of La Famiglia, a new Italian restaurant on 6th Avenue, hunger is an issue said he won’t ignore. He donated a gift card to his restaurant for patrons to bid on at Empty Bowls.
“I think when it comes to hunger, too often people turn their heads the other way,” Hagy said. “I’ve been fortunate to travel. I’ve seen hunger in many places. But what people don’t realize is that hunger isn’t specific to one place. Hunger is everywhere. I’m so glad to be able to participate in Empty Bowls. It’s a great cause that raises awareness of the problem of hunger.”
Clagg encouraged people to seek out information about hunger and available resources.
“Everyone should be aware of resources within their community,” Clagg said. “Families should be aware of potential resources they may need to refer to. Many individuals within our community are a couple of pay checks away from utilizing our facility, to a degree.”
Last year Empty Bowls raised nearly $18,000 for the Huntington Area Food Bank.
“Our goal is to beat that this year,” said Jaye Ike, special projects coordinator for the College of Fine Arts. “$19,000 would be great – $20 (thousand) would be even better. We will have wonderful soups, beautiful bowls, tons of great auction items to bid on – and we’ll have T-shirts this year. Last year, people were asking so we’ve been working with Chris Wallace of Wallace Multimedia, and he’s given us a great deal. The T-shirts will be black with bold white lettering that reads ‘end hunger’ above the Empty Bowls logo. we’ll sell them for $20, with all proceeds benefiting the food bank.”
Cherie Davis can be contacted at email@example.com.