'The bowls are all out' for Empty Bowls Project

STEVE NASH steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com
Some of the 1,200-plus bowls await diners for Thursday's Empty Bowls Project at the Brownwood Coliseum.

Good Samaritan Ministries hopes to see at least 600 people at today's Empty Bowls Project from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Brownwood Coliseum.

But don't stop at 600: more than that would be "lovely," Good Samaritan programs manager Misty Bowers said.

"The bowls are all out," Bowers said Wednesday afternoon.

Bowls have been glazed and fired in the Kohler kilns.

For a donation only (suggested $10 minimum), diners may choose a hand-painted ceramic bowl and enjoy a simple meal of soup, bread and water. At the end of the meal, the diner is encouraged to take the empty bowl home to serve as a reminder that there are those in our own community who have empty bowls and empty stomachs.

For a $25 donation, diners can come from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. to have first dibs at the 1,200-plus bowls.

The Empty Bowls Project has become the ministry's largest fund-raising event of the year. "It not only raises awareness of local hunger but it brings the community together in a way that nothing else we’ve ever done has,” Good Samaritan Ministries Executive Director Angelia Bostick said.

The bowls are painted in advance of the event by local students, nursing home residents, church youth and children’s groups and various individuals and groups that schedule to paint at our office.

The response was so great this year, Good Samaritan had to start a waiting list two weeks into painting because more people wanted to be involved than there were bowls to paint.

Ninety percent of money raised at the door stays in Brown County to help local residents, and 10 percent is tithed to an organization that fights hunger internationally. This year, Good Samaritan will send the tithe to Food for the Hungry, which has hunger programs in Africa, Asia and South America.

Other businesses also donate items to be sold in a “store” on the day of the event.

 Local restaurants also donate soup for the event and students from Howard Payne University, GSM and others in the community serve as volunteers for the event.