Caring For Kids Busy Holiday

Excellent weather and a school holiday conspired Monday to bring waves of people to Empty Bowls, the annual food bank fundraiser at Cullman’s First United Methodist Church.

While official numbers won’t be tallied for several days, a look around the church’s Hearin Hall indicated response to this year’s event — the 14th in the series — was immense.

“It’s been incredible — just really, really good,” said Jayvon Daniel, who directs the Cullman Caring for Kids Food Bank. “Unlike last year, we’ve had really good weather, and the kids have been out of school, and just looking around, we feel that we’re doing great this year.”

Cullman Caring for Kids receives the proceeds from each year’s Empty Bowls event, turning those funds around to purchase bulk food items at favorably negotiated rates.

To date, Empty Bowls has raised more than $130,000 for the food bank, with last year’s turnout topping that of any previous year.

Organizers say that each dollar raised at Empty Bowls can purchase seven pounds of food.

Empty Bowls represents the largest community-driven fundraiser to benefit the food bank each year, said Daniel.

“The Empty Bowls Committee has taken it over, over the years, which is great for us. We do have individual donors who graciously donate more throughout the year, but this is the biggest fundraiser that we have,” he explained. “And believe me — we need it.”

A lot goes into staging the dinner, and it’s an ongoing project that coordinates a lot of moving parts. Whether receiving help from other churches, businesses, schools, or the local artisans who supply the handmade bowls for which the event is named, Empty Bowls is a community effort in the truest sense.

“This is my first one, and wow — it’s a community event for sure. So many different groups work together to make it possible,” said Todd Henderson, who’s experiencing his first Empty Bowls as the church’s lead pastor.

“People told me this would be the place to be tonight, and they are right. This is one of the better community events I’ve been involved in,” he added.

“Sometimes, you’ll see events like this that are more church-centric, and it can be hard to get people in the community engaged beyond the confines of a particular church. But this is really a community-wide thing, and I’ve been very impressed with the level of support that it gets from all directions.”

Source : http://www.cullmantimes.com/news/filled-to-bursting-for-empty-bowls/article_f9812d6e-f7ea-11e6-8d80-3bbc47e3ee59.html

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