Filling Empty Bowls: A Community Effort
SAN ANGELO, TX – Yesterday, the Texas Hunger Initiative hosted its second annual Empty Bowls fundraiser to benefit the Wesley Trinity Daily Bread Soup Lunch Program, also known as the “Soup Kitchen.”
ABOVE: Mary Herbert (L) Regional Director of Texas Health Initiative and Pamela Burke (R) Director of the Wesley Trinity Daily Bread Program
The Texas Hunger Initiative program is a state-wide effort with its headquarters at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Mary Herbert, Regional Director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, said the program is “all about trying to make sure that all Texans have at least three nutritious meals a day.” According to Herbert, 1 in 4 children and 1 in 6 senior adults are food insecure. The Texas Hunger Initiative of San Angelo heard about the national and international hunger initiative program “Empty Bowls” and decided to work with the Wesley Trinity Soup Kitchen, a local organization, that makes great efforts to alleviate hunger.
“We could think of no better organization [that is fighting against hunger] than Wesley Trinity Soup Kitchen,” Herbert said.
ABOVE: Volunteers at the Empty Bowl Event handed out donated bowls to attendees.
The Empty Bowls Fundraiser began at 11:00 a.m. yesterday at the Cactus Hotel where attendees paid an entry fee of $25.00 for a delicious soup and bread lunch in a handcrafted pottery bowl, “a reminder that there are still empty bowls in the world,” said Herbert. All entry fees went directly to the Wesley Trinity Soup Kitchen.
ABOVE: Volunteers serving warm soup to attendees. From L to R: Clay Cross, Debbie Cross, L'Tanya Williams
The Wesley Trinity Daily Bread Soup Lunch Program is open Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pamela Burke, Director of the Wesley Trinity Daily Bread Program, said that meals are “meant to be a hot lunch so that people who are hungry will have all the nourishment they need for the day.”
Overall, the soup kitchen sees all kinds of people. There are “homeless people who come; there are also people who have very low income, or have run out of food stamps for the month,” Burke said. Quite a few of these people rely on the soup kitchen as their sole source of food supply.
Last year’s Empty Bowl Fundraiser was a big success. The many participants and their generous donations have allowed the soup kitchen to expand its services, addressing the needs of a steadily increasing population of San Angeloans who go hungry each day. According to Burke, the soup kitchen served about 48,000 people last year, but this year, they are “pushing close to 60,000.”
ABOVE: Potter Eric Grasham molding various bowls for attendees to watch.
At yesterday's event, people enjoyed live music while they ate and visited with one another. They also had the chance to see Eric Grasham, a local potter, create various shapes and sizes of bowls. Grasham is one of the many artists who donated art for the day's cause.
“Being able to do what I love to help other people feels good,” said Grasham.
Lana Mott, a volunteer at the event, remarked that volunteering could be “very humbling.”
Gill Stillwell, a long time volunteer at the Wesley Trinity Soup Kitchen, underscored that “it’s great to know that we are actually making a difference for some of these people who are down on their luck, or just need a hot meal;” and she added, “it's very rewarding, [and] it makes you proud to live in San Angelo.”
Door prizes were given out throughout the event, and there was also a silent auction. People donated various pottery items as well as knit and needlework. Local restaurants and organizations also generously donated all the soups served at the event.