The Carroll County Soup Kitchen is asking for help from the community to feed the hungry as it prepares for the seventh annual Empty Bowl fundraiser. The event is the largest single fundraiser for the soup kitchen.
About $21,000 was raised last year for the soup kitchen, said Carol Boyd, chairwoman of the organizing committee for the fundraiser. About 30 chefs are preparing a variety of soups while more than 100 people donated the artistic bowls available.
“It’s all fun and games, but it really is about something important,” she said. “It brings people together for a good cause.”
About 1,000 bowls will be displayed at the Carroll County Ag Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
From amateurs to professionals, bowls of all styles will be available. A few of the bowls have been donated by students of the bowl-making workshops hosted in the community.
Participants will be asked for a $10 donation for each one of the bowls.
A silent auction, with items from 44 artists, will be auctioned during the event. Boyd said items may include pottery, jewelry, paintings and sculptures, and other mediums will be available.
The soups vary as greatly as the art. From simple chicken noodle soups or tomato soups, to spicy and exotic, Boyd said there is a soup for all taste buds. There is limited ability to keep soups warm: only about 10 soups will be available at a time.
“This started small, but it grows every year,” Boyd said. Last year, about 600 people attended, and she hopes a similar number attends this year.
Throughout the event, children’s games will be available and bands will perform.
A short program will educate attendees about the soup kitchen.
“It’s very important for any community to know more about it and understand that people in need are our neighbors. The community is strong if all the members are healthy and have enough to eat,” Boyd said.
She said the money raised will be used on facility needs. Recently a freezer stopped working and needs to be replaced.
Money may also be used to pay utility bills or purchase paper products.
Eddie Adams, on the board of directors for the soup kitchen, said everyone who works for the soup kitchen volunteers and much of the food is donated from schools, churches, civic organizations and a few local individuals.
The annual cost of $80,000 to $100,000 to run the kitchen is the direct cost of operating and varies depending on what repairs and maintenance are needed.
The soup kitchen has been open the last full week of almost every month for the past 28 years. Adams said a new grant has allowed the kitchen to open every Monday, too.
In the past few years, more people have been requesting hot meals. Adams said the soup kitchen regularly has 350 to 400 people take advantage of the program.
During January, 54 families received emergency boxes of food. A total of 1,577 sack lunches were packed and 578 guests had a hot meal.
“This fundraiser is vitally important to our ability to provide food for those who come to us,” Adams said.