Empty Bowl lunch serves up charity, with a side of bread

Some volunteers take a break to enjoy some soup, bread, and water at the Empty Bowl luncheon.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Kimberly Bennett)

O’FALLON – On Wednesday, the O’Fallon Woman’s Club hosted their seventh annual Empty Bowl luncheon to raise money for the local food pantry.

Twenty-four vendors served up a variety of soups to hungry patrons.

“It’s a simple meal of soup, bread, and water. It’s a reminder that some families in our area that face empty bowls every day,” said Woman’s Club President Beth Lundy. “One hundred percent of the ticket price goes to the food pantry. We fundraise separately to run the event.”

Aside from a great meal, attendees receive a hand crafted bowl as a gift.

“We have agreements with OTHS, Althoff, and Notre Dame high school in St. Louis, as well as several different artists and groups. We either buy bowls and have the students paint them, or we buy the paint and the clay and have the OTHS and Althoff students actually make the bowls. We make at least 1,000 per year. I think we made 1,300 this year,” Lundy said.

Friends serving drinks together take a moment to pose for the camera. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Kimberly Bennett)

Lundy said she loves the Empty Bowl concept because it gets people young and old involved.

“What I like about Empty Bowl is that its a fun event. And I love the involvement of the kids. When you ask a kid to go to the pantry and pick a vegetable to give to the food pantry, they pick their least favorite vegetable and it means nothing. It’s important and necessary, but this is a way to give kids a voice and get them involved,” Lundy said. “We also have placemats made by younger kids that can’t make a bowl, that talk about hunger or the community. We have ladies that love them and take their placemats home.”

Lundy first encountered the Empty Bowl concept in Mississippi and brought it to O’Fallon. Next year’s Empty Bowl Luncheon is scheduled for February 14.