Story + Photography by Tony Centonze
In its 11th year, Empty Bowls drew more than 1,700 people to eight locations around the community, all supporting its mission to feed the hungry, disadvantaged and homeless in the area.
“This year is going really well,” said Empty Bowls volunteer Brenda Harper as the crowd continued to arrive at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church location. “We had 450 tickets to sell, and we were close to selling out. community wide. We sold more than 1,700 tickets for this year's event.”
Trinity Episcopal, New Providence UMC, and Grace Lutheran hosted events at lunch. Sango UMC, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Immaculate Conception, and First Presbyterian hosted from 4:30 – 7 p.m. South of the River was jointly hosted by Salem UMC, Lone Oak Baptist, Palmyra UMC, Mt. Zion UMC, and Marion UMC.
In its first 10 years, Empty Bowls has raised more than $200,000 for the community. This year's event was expected to raise between $20,000 and $30,000.
“The money is divided between Urban Ministries and Loaves & Fishes,” Harper said. “This year, a smaller portion is going to The Food Initiative as well. All the money goes to fund those agencies. Virtually all of the costs and overhead are donated, and the events are staffed by volunteers. So, the money we raise is put to good use in our community. All of the money stays in Clarksville-Montgomery County.”