LINVILLE LAND HARBOR — Feeding Avery Families’ annual Empty Bowls returned on August 24 to bring out the community for soup and functional crafts.
The nonprofit’s major annual fundraiser managed to take in about $15,000, a significant part of its annual budget.
Empty Bowls is an international project to address hunger. Each Empty Bowls event has its own flavor, but the ultimate goal of the format is the same.
As people came through the door at the Linville Land Harbor Recreation Complex, they were greeted by a volunteer taking donations at a table. Donors could give any amount and pick out their own handmade bowl of the more than 400 on offer.
A large part of the bowls were donated by art students at Avery County High School.
“They’re the first bowls that they’ve ever made,” Patti Connor-Greene, the pottery lead for the event, said.
Connor-Greene added there are also bowls from professional potters who have been plying the craft for more than 50 years in the mix, adding to the creativity on display at the event.
“When I think about this event, I think about it as being a combination of creativity and generosity in the community,” Connor-Greene said, adding every bowl on the table represented a different personality.
This year the media expanded to woven and wooden bowls as well as other media, though the bowls were still predominantly clay.
FAF distributes thousands of pounds to food-insecure county residents each month. Executive Director Dick Larson said the event has expanded each year.
“We may be approaching the limit to that,” Larson said.
The annual budget FAF has for food is about $65,000 a year. That purchases a significant amount of food from its vendors in addition to donated food.
This year the nonprofit will distribute more than 450,000 pounds of food, up from 167,000 just two years ago.
The number of families the nonprofit serves has increased from 1,000 to 1,200, and now each family is receiving about double the amount of food, leaving FAF’s Newland center with 60 to 65 pounds. Despite the massive increase in output, Larson said there is still more to do.
“There are 2,500 to 3,000 people in the county that are food insecure that would be eligible for what we do,” Larson said. “So there’s a huge unmet need.”
Larson said the biggest part of Empty Bowls is the community exposure the organization receives.
A silent auction was also held at the event.