Soup plus crackers plus water plus a hand-painted bowl equals a victory in the fight against hunger.

That’s the goal for the ninth annual Empty Bowls Project scheduled for Thursday in the Brownwood Coliseum.  Doors open at 11 a.m. Soup will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30-7 p.m. Cost for the event is $10 per person.

“I know of no other event that unites Brown County residents like the Empty Bowls Project,” said Good Samaritan Executive Director Leesa Stephens. “Community members from many different walks of life come together with the purpose of raising not only funds to help feed the hungry in our county, but to also raise awareness that we have friends and neighbors with empty bowls and empty stomachs.”

The Empty Bowls Project is the largest fundraiser each year for Good Samaritan Ministries.  All the money raised at the event goes to fight hunger.  Ninety percent is used to support GSM’s seven hunger ministries while 10 percent will be tithed to an international hunger ministry.

For the $10 entry fee, patrons can dine on a simple meal of soup, water and crackers while enjoying live music. The soups are graciously donated by area restaurants with a wide variety to choose from.

If hunger- the focus of the Empty Bowls Project- is a serious subject, then why all the attention to pretty little bowls?

“The empty bowls are a keepsake item that attendees can take home with them to remember that hunger is a real issue in our area and in the world,” Stephens said. “Painting or glazing a bowl for the Empty Bowls Project is a way that someone can have a hands-on part in helping draw attention to the fact that there are people living in Brown County who daily must deal with food insecurity.”

Lisa Tipton, Marketing Director at TexasBank, has several keepsake bowls from the Empty Bowls Project.

“For those who don’t experience hunger, the empty, hand-painted bowls remind us to help those less fortunate all year round,” Tipton said.

 Many groups helped paint and glaze the bowls that will be available at the event.  High school and middle school art students, nursing home residents, students from TSTC and HPU as well as business and church groups donated their time and talents to paint the bowls.          

“This was our first year to paint bowls and they [Senior Citizens] loved it,” said Angie Dees, Program Director for Brownwood Senior Citizens Center.  “They want to paint bowls every year from now on.”

After the bowls are painted comes the messy but necessary job of glazing the bowls to make them food safe. The HPU Criminal Justice Club, the Yellow Jacket football team and students from Zephyr High School handled most of the glazing. The final step is taking the glazed bowls to the Kohler plant for firing.

“It’s quite a process,” Stephens said. “Every group along the way plays an important part in getting these bowls ready.  We are so appreciative to Kohler for their partnership in firing the bowls.”

A silent auction will be held throughout the day featuring some special bowls painted by area artists.

“To help us commemorate the 25th anniversary of Good Samaritan Ministries, we selected some beautiful heart shaped bowls for these artists to paint,” Stephens said. “You can bid on these artisan bowls throughout the day, and then we will open the bids and announce the winners beginning at 6 p.m. Proceeds from these bowls will also be used to fight hunger.”

 A list of the artists and pictures of the bowls are available at www.goodsambwd.org.

The Good Samaritan Ministries Resale Store will have an on-site boutique featuring special items that have been donated to GSM and set aside especially for this event. 

“This boutique gives the community the opportunity to see the unique items that are donated to us throughout the year,” Crystal Wyatt, Resale Store Manager said. “You can expect some antiques, art items and jewelry to just to name a few things.”  

Tickets for the Empty Bowls Project are available at the Good Samaritan offices during regular business hours, the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce office and at the door.