Brownwood’s Good Samaritan Ministries is gearing up once again for the eighth annual Empty Bowls Project to be held on Thursday, March 30 at the Brownwood Coliseum.   

Groups from across Brown County have been gathering for weeks at the Good Samaritan offices to paint ceramic bowls for purchase during the event.    

On Wednesday afternoon, Coggin Church’s Koinonia (Greek for “Christian fellowship”) women’s bible study group met at Good Samaritan to paint some bowls of their own. Tammy Pratt, who leads the group’s studies, said her organization enjoys giving back to the community. “That’s part of what we do,” Pratt said. “It’s just a great thing to do.”   

Pratt said she has long wanted to participate in the Empty Bowls Project and did so for the first time this year, along with five other Koinonia members. Her group is one of many to get involved this year. In fact, Good Samaritan program director Misty Bowers said there will be about a thousand bowls available for purchase.   

Bowers said Good Samaritan has enough bowls now and will soon begin the process of sending them to Kohler to get fired in a kiln. “We have to glaze them and get them sent to Kohler, so we’re kind of on a time crunch,” Bowers said.    

She said Good Samaritan can still use help, though, with glazing the bowls. The organization needs volunteers from March 6 to 17, and interested groups and individuals can reserve a time by calling Bowers at 325-643-2273 ext.105.    

The Empty Bowls Project is Good Samaritan’s largest annual fundraiser. It raises money for all of Good Samaritan’s hunger ministries, including the food pantry, homebound program, Deer Project and Pig Project. Ten percent of the proceeds will also be donated to an international hunger relief organization.  

“It’s the only time ever — ever — that we send any money outside of Brown County,” Bowers said.   

On March 30 the Brownwood Coliseum will open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. For $10, individuals can purchase a brand new, hand-painted ceramic bowl and a (separate, styrofoam) bowl of soup made by a local restaurant.   

The Empty Bowls Project also features a “celebrity auction” featuring bowls painted by notable Brown County residents. “Our local celebrities will come out,” Bowers said, “and they’ll actually have to stand there and hold their bowl while people bid on it.”   

There will also be a selection of items set aside from the Good Samaritan resale store available for purchase at the event.   

Attendees will have a wide variety of bowls to choose from, and Good Samaritan volunteers will wrap the bowls on site for their purchasers. Good Samaritan is currently in the process of finalizing a list of celebrity bowl-makers and soup providers. “Most of the restaurants will provide their signature soup, whatever it is,” Bowers said.    

Anyone interested in volunteering at the Empty Bowls event can contact Howard Payne University’s Dan Humeniuk at 325-649-8098.