Rainy Empty Bowls drive-thru raises nearly $8K for hunger

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Good Samaritan Ministries board member Linda Lemond stands in a light rain and talks with a motorist early Thursday afternoon during Good Samaritan's Empty Bowls drive-through fundraiser on Clark Street in downtown Brownwood.
Good Samaritan Ministries Executive Director Leesa Stephens is pictured at her desk.

Community members responded on a rainy Thursday to Good Samaritan Ministries’ Empty Bowl Project, generating nearly $8,000 in the drive-thru event for the organization’s seven hunger ministries.

That amount did not include the additional funds that would be raised at Saturday’s special sale at the Good Samaritan Ministries (GSM) Resale Store.

For $10 donations, participants in Thursday’s event received a ceramic campfire bowl and chose coupons from one of 14 area restaurants.

GSM Executive Director Leesa Stephens said the amount raised Thursday is close to the funds raised in previous years when the event was held at the Brownwood Coliseum. This year and in 2020, Empty Bowls was changed to a drive-through event because of COVID.

Stephens said GSM hopes to return to the coliseum for next year’s event, where participants will be served soup lunches and choose bowls that are hand-painted by community members.

“The traffic was steady all day long up even up until 5 o’clock,” Stephens said of the drive-through, which was held outside GSM’s facility on Clark Street in downtown Brownwood. “We were never overrun at one time but there was definitely a steady stream of cars all day long.

“We feel that the people in this area understand the mission of Good Samaritan and they understand how they can partner with us to fight food insecurity and hunger in Brown County. We had an incredible number of sponsors this year. Thank you, because without sponsorship this event is not possible.”

GSM’s next project will be Christmas in July, which raises funds for food that’s placed in Christmas boxes in December, Stephens said.

In the fall, GSM’s additional projects will include National Night Out, the Deer Project and the Tackle Hunger Food Drive, Stephens said.