The fifth annual Empty Bowls project, hosted March 7, by Luther College and the tri-state community, raised approximately $21,000 for local food pantries and world hunger assistance.
About 1,000 people attended the event, a significant increase over the estimated 800 people who attended the 2009 Empty Bowls event.
"Both the number of participants and the amount of money raised are the most ever in the five years we have held the Empty Bowls lunch," said Sue Halverson, Luther student life administrative assistant and coordinator of the Luther Empty Bowls project. "We were overwhelmed by the positive response from the community."
Volunteer potters made approximately 1,400 bowls for the event, almost all of which were selected by donors at the lunch, and area restaurants and community volunteers made and donated more than 150 gallons of soup, enough for more than 800 meals.
"By the end of the afternoon, we ran out of soup before we served the last of the diners," said Halverson. "People were incredibly gracious and still gave donations to the Empty Bowls project in exchange for their 'empty bowls.'"
Part of a nationwide project, Empty Bowls events combine the talents of potters with the generosity of donors in the community to raise awareness and funds to address the issue of hunger. Participants in the Empty Bowls events select a hand-made bowl to use during the meal and to keep as a reminder that there are always empty bowls- hungry people- in the world.
Donations to the Luther community project will be divided among local food pantries and world hunger assistance through Lutheran World Relief. Supplemental funds will be provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Winneshiek and Allamakee Chapters.
"We want to extend our sincere thanks to all the people who came to the lunch and donated to the project," said Halverson. "There were at least 100 volunteers who worked on his project, and we want to thank the potters who gave their time and talent to making the bowls, the area restaurants and volunteers who made and donated the soup and bread for the meal, and all those who worked at the March 7 event."