Empty Bowls event raises $2,250 for Salvation Army food pantry

Monday, November 7, 2011
Morgan Schumer, left, and her mother, Debbie Schumer of Cape Girardeau make their selections at the annual Empty Bowls Banquet Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011 at the Salvation Army in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

Organizers of the sixth annual Empty Bowls Banquet are confident the fundraiser will lead to more full stomachs in the coming year.

Co-organizer Linda Bohnsack said that 180 meals were sold Sunday. Purchase of the meal of soup, bread, dessert and drink for $12 entitled patrons to select one of the empty bowls and take it home. The bowls not distributed Sunday will be available for purchase at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri's craft show Nov. 19 and 20 at the Osage Centre.

The fundraiser benefits the Salvation Army's food pantry and community meal program.

Bohnsack was instrumental in leading the production of about 600 bowls this year. Thirty bowls were part of a silent auction at the arts council that ended Friday and raised about $700 to be donated to the food pantry. Sunday's Empty Bowls Banquet raised another $2,250, according to Bohnsack.

About 200 volunteers were involved in the production of the bowls for this year's event, Bohnsack said.

"There's only a handful of about six people that are artists," Bohnsack said of the volunteers. "The rest of them are all just volunteers from the community from age 8 through 90."

Dr. Anne Marietta, who served as co-chairwoman of the event with Bohnsack, coordinated a team of 37 Southeast Missouri State University students volunteers who assisted with the preparation and serving of the meals Sunday. Marietta is a professor at the university, and many of the volunteers are nutrition and dietetic majors.

"They're excited," Marietta said about the student volunteers. "It gives them an opportunity to contribute back to the community, and they appreciate that."

One of the students volunteering was Kaycie Kelley of Cape Girardeau, a senior dietetic major, who volunteers at the Salvation Army providing nutrition information during the week. This is her second year helping with the Empty Bowls Banquet.

"Seeing where the money goes, it's a great impact to the community," said Kelley, who estimated that around 200 hours of student volunteer time went into the fundraiser.

LaDonna Juden and husband Terry of Cape Girardeau brought three of their grandchildren to the event to help teach them about giving back to the community.

"We've always thought it was important to be involved in the community, and we've always appreciated this program," LaDonna Juden said. "This is the first time that I've had the opportunity to come, and I wanted to share it with my oldest granddaughter so that we can understand where our true blessings are, and that is through helping others."

Maj. Beth Stillwell of the Salvation Army said the demand for services provided by the organization is increasing. The food pantry is in need of donations for "anything that would make a meal around the table."

Pertinent address:

701 Good Hope St., Cape Girardeau MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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