‘Empty Bowls’ Food Bank Fundraiser Returns As Originally Planned

BOWL’D OVERAttendees were able to pick their own bowls, and then take them around to sampe the various restaurants’ fare.

The fifth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser for the Franklin Food Bank returned to its original home and with its original grandeur on March 26.

The event was held at the Doubletree Hotel on Atrium Drive as it was in 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic forced organizers to improvise and hold smaller events in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The Empty Bowl idea is simple: attendees receive a hand-made pottery bowl with their admission, then visit any number of restaurant stations that were arranged in the ballroom to get a taste of their offerings.

There were also other bowls and pottery works and crafts that could be purchased, with all of the proceeds going to the Food Bank.

Derek Smith, the Food Bank executive director, said this event, like other Food Bank fundraisers, are designed to “engage the community.”

“The work that we’re doing in this community to support over 20,000 families requires the community,” he said.

Smith said the Food Bank, which can serve between 80 and 120 families a day at its Churchill Avenue location, is also beginning a nutrition program for its clients.

“So we make sure it’s not just the quantity of food we give them access to, but the quality of food we give them access to,” he said.

Smith said the Food Bank will also be partnering with the school district on programs.

Bob Cherill, the event’s organizer, said the Empty Bowls event is done in different ways around the world.

“We wanted to do it on a grand scale because the Food Bank is in such great need,” he said.

Cherill said the Doubletree “was a godsend” because it donated the space and support staff for the event.

Cherill’s wife, Ceil, led a cadre of crafters to sew items for the sale, he said.

“We also have sponsors who really stepped forward … and help us to help you,” he said.

Allie O’Brien, the Food Bank’s director of development, said the day was “amazing.”

“It’s good to see the community come together,” she said. “I got to see a lot of people I haven’t been able to see in a long time.”

“It gets into the spirit of the kind of work we do at the Food Bank, which is creating community where there may not be any,” she said.

The Franklin Reporter & Advocate live streamed from the event:

Here are some scenes from the day:

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