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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Empty Bowls program grows in Brazos Valley

Photo by Provided

Proceeds raised from Brazos Valley Empty Bowls will go to the Brazos Valley Food Bank. 

Local artists and community members have come together to raise money for the Brazos Valley Food Bank by selling hand-painted ceramic bowls.

Empty Bowls is a national event to promote funding for food banks and raise awareness about hunger issues. Forty million Americans struggle with hunger, according to non-profit organization Feeding America. Three years of data from the USDA shows that Texas exceeds the national average for food insecurity. This year, the Brazos Valley Empty Bowls program will be held today from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, a larger location than previous years.

A donation of $20 allows guests to pick out a bowl and receive a meal of soup and bread said Lauren Woodman, recreation, park and tourism sciences senior and event chair for empty bowls. She said this year there will also be a silent auction, and all funds will be donated to the food bank.

“One thing I didn’t realize is how many people in our area are in need of food, and the food bank really helps with that,” Woodman said. “$20 can go a long way.”

Greta Watkins, owner of The Frame Gallery, started Brazos Valley Empty Bowls in 2015 after she heard about the event through her daughter, a ceramics student at Sam Houston State University.

“I decided that we had potters here, that we should try this,” Watkins said. “Thirteen years ago, we had the first one, and there are a couple of potteries in town and potters that work through those potteries, but we needed more. We couldn’t just do it with the potters we had.”

Watkins then enlisted Penny Woodcock, an owner of U Paint-it pottery, to take up the remaining needs of the Empty Bowls project. Woodcock said their pottery shop helps people paint bowls for the event.

“We’re pretty lucky in this community,” Woodcock said. “If you scratch a little deeper, you realize that there are lots of people in this community and neighboring counties that do struggle with food issues and hunger, so we just always felt like it was an important issue to raise awareness around.”

Executive director of the Brazos Valley Food Bank Theresa Mangapora said the donations they have received from the annual event have ranged from $3,000 to $7,000. The bulk of the food bank’s money comes from fundraising.

“Any time someone does a fundraiser for us or we do one of our own fundraisers is fantastic,” Mangapora said. “There’s more money so that we can do more. We only get I think 10 percent of our funds from the government, so it’s just a lot of asking the public to believe in what we do and supporting it.”

Although students can’t volunteer for this event yet, they can attend and help support the food bank.

“Our goal is to grow the event and it already has,” Woodman said. “We moved to a bigger location so [there are] a lot more people. So maybe in the future if they continue with this it might grow to the point where students could volunteer.”


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  • Proceeds raised from Brazos Valley Empty Bowls will go to the Brazos Valley Food Bank. 

    Photo by Provided

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