The big day has arrived at last. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. tonight at the Brownwood Coliseum, Good Samaritan Ministries will be hosting the Empty Bowls Project. 

Yesterday, GSM and several volunteers worked to set up numerous tables complete with table cloth, flowers and original mats with artwork from local school children on them. They also lined the outer walls of the coliseum with tables that supported over 1,000 bowls. 

The bowls were painted by several different groups, schools, clubs, organizations, families and friends. There were so many bowls to be painted and volunteers to paint this year, that the original deadline was extended to accommodate the desire. 

The bowls were then glazed, dried and sent to the kiln. Kohler once again offered to fire the bowls this year. 

Pre-sale tickets were sold for the first time this year for $20 each. Some of these pre-sale tickets will be available this morning. Pre-sale tickets give customers the chance to peruse the painted bowls before those with general admission. It offers then the chance to get their favorite painted bowl before it is snapped up. Those with pre-sale tickets may come to the coliseum from 9:45-10:45 a.m., choose their bowl and return later for lunch with their chosen bowl. 

Though the exact number of pre-sale tickets is currently unknown, there has been a demand for it. 

"The interest is definitely there," said Misty Bowers, GSM program director. 

Last year, the Empty Bowls Project brought in donations at around $16,000 and is hoping to break that record this year. All the proceeds from Empty Bowls goes back into the local GSM and aids local children and families. 

GSM's programs include the DEER project, food for thought, the food Pantry, clothing store, samaritan aid, disaster closet, baby blessings and miscellaneous other services. 

All tickets include a painted bowl and a bowl of soup, bread and water. General admission is donation based.