Empty Bowls: Fundraiser helps feed Hungry in the Pinebelt

According to Feeding America, 19 percent of Mississippi households live with food insecurity, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal. That translates into more than 160,000 Mississippi children under age 18 living in food insecure households, consistently unable to access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life.

Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger. Potters and other craftspeople work with the community to create beautiful handcrafted bowls. In October 2012, Main Street Books sponsored the first Empty Bowls Hattiesburg fundraiser, starting a community tradition as they raised funds and awareness for the Edwards Street Fellowship Center (ESFC) food pantry.

The eighth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser will be held from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Main Street Books, 210 Main Street, in historic downtown Hattiesburg.

The $25 cost includes a handcrafted / hand painted bowl as well as a meal of soup, bread, dessert, and beverage. Before enjoying their meal, guests select a one-of-a-kind bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world.

This year's event will have a street festival atmosphere. Thanks to the Hattiesburg Downtown Association, Main Street will be blocked from Buschman to Walnut, allowing al fresco dining and live outdoor music. The Hattiesburg Zoo's Zoomobile will be on site with a special animal to visit with event guests.

ESFC has been serving the residents of southeast Hattiesburg since 1979. Their food pantry currently provides emergency and supplemental food to 1,500 households per month who are facing hunger or food insecurity. The food pantry serves residents of a seven-county area of the Pine Belt.

The public is invited to join in the effort to fight local hunger by supporting Empty Bowls Hattiesburg. In addition to purchasing a handcrafted / hand painted bowl for themselves, guests are asked to consider giving these unique bowls as gifts. The gift-wrapped bowls and accompanying information cards tell co-workers, neighbors, business associates, friends, teachers, and relatives that an empty bowl in the Hattiesburg community was filled through the purchase of this gift.

Among the bowls available at the event include pottery and painting designs by Allen Chen, Melanie Eubanks, Junior Auxiliary Crown Club members, Sid Krhut, Jo-Anna Lopez, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality contestants, Diane Shepherd, and Bristles Art Studio.

At this year’s event, bowls will be selected and purchased at Main Street Books. The meal will be served across the street at GrateFull Soul Restaurant and feature delicious soups, breads, desserts and beverages donated by area chefs and restaurants. Last year’s meal contributors included Breadsmith, Chili’s, Cotton Blues, Crescent City Grill, The Depot, Half Shell Oyster House, Hattiesburg Coca-Cola, Jody’s Bakery, Logan's Roadhouse, Longleaf Plantation, Movie Star, Newk’s, O'Charley's, Patio 44, Qdoba, Red Lobster, Seasoned with Love, Southern Oaks, Sweet Peppers, T-Bones Cafe, Twisted Skillet, and many more.

Sponsors for Empty Bowls 2019 include presenting sponsors Main Street Books and GrateFull Soul Restaurant.

Preorders are available through Main Street Books, (601) 584-6960, and Edwards Street Fellowship Center, (601) 544-6149.

For more information about Edwards Street Fellowship Center or Empty Bowls, “like” the Face Book page The Empty Bowls Fundraiser Hattiesburg, visit the website www.EdwardsStreetFellowship.org, or call ESFC at (601) 544-6149.

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