Event will raise hunger awareness in Bowling Green

Two female culinary students are serving food at Empty Bowls fundraising event

Alexa Stearsman (left) and Brittany Vincent, students at
Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College's
culinary arts program, serve drinks Thursday, February 25,
2016, during the Empty Bowls fundraiser at the Sloan
Convention Center. All of the money collected at the event
will be equally divided between HOTEL INC's Manna Mart
and the the University Church of Christ's Life Care Ministry.
(Bac Totrong/photo@bgdailynews.com)

Story by Simone Payne - BG Daily News

The partnership between St. James United Methodist Church and the community will continue with the fifth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser Feb. 23 at Sloan Convention Center.

Last year's event raised $15,000, which was donated to the Life Care Ministry overseen by the University Church of Christ and HOTEL INC s Manna Mart, and included more than 900 bowls, St. James pastor Chris Patterson said.

Each person at the event will be asked to make a minimum donation of $10. Each guest may then select a bowl from the ones created by local artists. They are then served a meal, usually soup and bread, along with a beverage. After the meal, each person gets to take the bowl home with them, which serves as a reminder that there are many bowls in our community that go unfilled each day.

Patterson said the church works with several agencies to help raise funds and awareness to end hunger in the community. This year, he hopes to raise $20,000 and have more than 1,000 bowls for the fundraiser.

"It draws awareness to the need of hunger-related issues right here in our community," he said. "We often see those faces make the news in the metropolitan cities, but many people may not be aware that there is a homeless population in our community. Hundreds of people go without access to adequate food."

The international cuisine class at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College will oversee the food component this year, Patterson said.

Event organizers are looking for corporate sponsors starting at $50 to $1,000, with every dollar raised going back into the community.

St. James member Garry Taylor brought the event to the church's attention after moving back to Bowling Green in 2010. He learned about it while making pottery and living in New Hampshire. He said the event has been around for more than 20 years in other communities.

"We're a country blessed with wealth and an abundance of food, but we still have families across the country that don't have food at meal time," Taylor said. "If you've ever missed a meal, you know how it affects you in the morning. It's hard to get ahead when your body is upset because it's hungry."

Taylor said it's important to continue the event here because it raises money to provide food for people who are hungry and it gets the community working together to help people in need.

People can visit several places in the community such as The Pots Place Co-op Studio and Gallery and The Paint'n Place to make bowls to donate to the event. Donations of bowls will be accepted until Feb. 12. Any cash donations are also welcomed.