(Kristin Eberts) [Order this photo]
Some even shared an inspirational message.
The word "hope," a small pink heart, a large cross and Scripture made up the designs on a few of the bowls picked first at the charity event at the Salvation Army. Proceeds from tickets sold to the banquet, which featured six soups, are donated to the Salvation Army to help purchase food for community meals.
"Their need has increased, and we're just trying to do more to help," said Linda Bohnsack, an organizer of the banquets and owner of Garden Gallery, where the 650 bowls were made.
Bohnsack said around 250 people attended Sunday's soup lunch, 50 or so fewer people than last year's first banquet. The lunch raised about $3,000.
The work of more than 400 volunteers, including Southeast Missouri State University dietetic and hospitality management students, helped craft the bowls and make the soup lunch run smoothly.
More than $900 had already been raised before Sunday from a silent auction at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri and O'Tenem Gallery. Profits from the auction, which featured 30 bowls made by area artists, will be combined with Sunday's total and a second banquet Wednesday.
Jo Peukert, a member of the United Way of Southeast Missouri, said she supports the Empty Bowls charity not only because the soup is great but because there are people in the community struggling to get by. Many of them, Peukert added, have never struggled to purchase food for their families before. It also helps to connect students with the arts, she said.
"Overall, it is a really good program. It meets the needs of the community. It feeds people," Peukert said.
Pamela Birk, a Southeast student in the community nutrition program, also a volunteer, said when she was selling tickets at the beginning of the lunch it was clear to her that people were coming out to support the hungry, who could be their neighbor.
"A lot of the people that came in gave me a $20 bill for one meal. That was generous," Birk said.
For the last five years, Empty Bowls banquets have been held in November, a month in which many people think of giving thanks or giving back. Still, Bohnsack said families need help all year and not just around the holidays.
"It seems to be that people are more aware if it this time of year," she said. "Really, we all need to be reminded of what we have. It's a way to give thanks that we do have food."
There will be a second Empty Bowls banquet from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Dearmont Hall on the Southeast Missouri State University campus. Because there's limited parking, students in the community nutrition program volunteering at the banquet have agreed to offer a valet service for diners. Tickets remain $12.
Any remaining bowls will be sold at Bohnsack's gallery through Christmas. In 2009, sales after the initial banquets helped to raise an additional $1,000 to feed the hungry. Soup bowl and ticket sales raised $8,500 last year.
701 Good Hope St., Cape Girardeau, MO