Reminder: Empty Bowls is this Friday, April 11; projected to exceed one million meals donated

EmptyBowlslogoThis year’s Empty Bowls event is expected to exceed one million meals raised for Facing Hunger Foodbank (formerly Huntington Area Food Bank) since Huntington’s version of the national initiative began in 2003.

“We knew we were close to — if not over — that total last year,” said Diana Van Horn, director of the Cridlin Food and Clothing Pantry, an agency partly supported by Facing Hunger Foodbank. “With the figures we have and estimations from the earliest campaigns, we’re confident this year’s earnings will put us over that one-million-meal mark.”

The 11th annual Empty Bowls fundraiser will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 11, at First Presbyterian Church, 1015 5th Ave. in Huntington. B’nai Sholom Congregation, Christian Associates and Marshall University ceramics students are working together to host the event.

Van Horn, who has been heavily involved in the event since 2010 as a Christian Associates member, said the Empty Bowls campaign has flourished over the years, raising about $20,000 each year for the past five. Unfortunately, the economy has limited the purchasing power of each dollar donated.

“In 2009, we could provide 10 meals for every $1 donated,” said Erin Highlander, director of development for Facing Hunger Foodbank. “As of last year, that number had decreased to seven. That makes the continued growth of events such as Empty Bowls such an important success for the community.”

For a $15 donation, patrons are offered a handmade ceramic bowl and a modest soup lunch, while giving the food bank the power to provide 105 similarly modest meals to those in need.

Frederick Bartolovic, Marshall’s ceramics faculty member, said the department’s goal is to provide this year’s event with about 1,200 bowls. Combined with the projected 300 bowls donated by area potters, the food bank could provide almost 160,000 meals from the sale of bowls alone.

For more information about Empty Bowls, visit

Facing Hunger Foodbank serves more than 113,000 food-insecure individuals in 17 counties across West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. All proceeds from Empty Bowls will benefit Facing Hunger Foodbank.