BELLVILLE -- This year’s Clear Fork Empty Bowls fundraiser will take place Nov. 3 at Clear Fork High School from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Empty Bowls is a soup luncheon and fundraiser designed to help combat hunger in Bellville and Butler.
“The concept behind Empty Bowls is simple; to come together as a community and rally around our own,” said Terri Hamilton, who organized the event.
Guests will enjoy a simple but savory meal provided by local chefs, restaurants and businesses including Black Dog Tavern, Brumby’s, Der Dutchman, Fast Eddie’s Pizza, Stoodt’s Market, V&M Family Restaurant and Wishmaker House.
More than 400 guests attended the inaugural Empty Bowls fundraiser last year, garnering over $2,000 in profits for the Bellville Neighborhood Outreach Center (BNOC).
“We had a line out the door for probably the first hour. It was unbelievable,” Hamilton said.
The fundraiser comes at an opportune time of year for the BNOC, a food pantry and secondhand clothing store serving residents of the Clear Fork Valley Local School District.
“We usually serve a little over 150 families a month, sometimes more than that,” said Carol Hoeflich, food pantry manager. “Thanksgiving and holidays, it’ll go up a lot.”
Empty Bowls fundraisers are independently-organized events held in communities across the country. The meals are served in beautiful, hand-decorated bowls that guests can keep as a reminder of those facing food insecurity.
Last year, the bowls were made in art class by students at Bellville and Butler Elementary. This year, hundreds of community members showed up to glaze clay bowls by hand during three Saturday events at the BNOC.
“It was really interesting this year since we had the painting of the bowls upstairs here and we had such a good turnout,” Hoeflich said. “It was really neat to see how many people came in to do that.”
Debra Weaver, program director at the Mansfield Art Center, said she was impressed by the beauty and variety of the designs.
“You can see by looking at the bowls that every single person had a different idea of what they wanted to do,” she said. “To get folks to take that artistic freedom and really tap out a piece of their spirit while they’re playing with art is something we strive for.”
The bowl glazing events attracted families, youth groups, sports teams and boys and girls clubs. The Mansfield Art Center volunteered to professionally kiln-fire them.
“For us, it is a labor in supporting our community and this is one way that we can do that, offering our time and our services ... that’s part of our outreach,” Weaver said.
Tickets are available at the door for a suggested donation of $15 for adults (includes a hand-painted bowl) and $5 for children under 13 (includes a disposable bowl).
The event sponsors include the Mansfield Art Center, Terra Valley Excavating, Weekley Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, Beachy Family Chiropractic, Edward Jones Investments, Elite Insurance, Hursh Drug Bellville, Darr Chiropractic, Main Culture Salon, Mechanics Bank, Wilson Family Realty, Wise Construction, Rustik Market, Smith’s True Value, Snyder Funeral Homes, Wade Gardens, ClearFit Nutrition, Elzy Milling and Trade and US Bank.