By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
A bowl full of compassion
Annual foodbank charity luncheon is set for Sept. 15
Bowls painted Saturday at Interactive Neighborhood for Kids will be donated to the Empty Bowl Luncheon and sold to benefit the Georgia Mountain Food Bank.

Empty Bowl Lunch

Georgia Mountain Food Bank fundraiser

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 15

Where: First Baptist Church of Gainesville, 751 Green St., Gainesville

How much: $25 per person

For tickets: 770-967-0075

Paint a bowl to donate to the Empty Bowl Lunch

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays

Where: Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville

How much: $7 per bowl (includes bowl, paint and finishing)

Contact: 770-536-1900

A lunch consisting of soup and a sandwich is simple fare for most folks, but for the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, it’s a lifeline.

For the fifth year in a row, the group is preparing for its Empty Bowl Lunch, which is a critical source of income for the food bank that provides supplies to more than 30 different organizations that give out food to needy families.

The drop-in lunch will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at First Baptist Church of Gainesville, located at 751 Green Street.

Proceeds from the $25-per-person lunch are used to help buy food for the nonprofit’s five-county distribution area. So far this year, the food bank has helped to provide more than 290,000 meals in Hall, Dawson, Forsyth, Lumpkin and Union counties.

"This is the only official fundraiser that we do, so it is very important in terms of helping our different programs," said Kay Blackstock, the food bank’s executive director.

Last year, the group sold around 350 tickets for the luncheon. This year, the nonprofit has set a goal of 600 tickets.

"It’s our fifth year, so we wanted to see if we could raise $15,000," Blackstock said.

"In order to do that, we need to sell 600 tickets.
We’re creeping up there, but we haven’t met our goal yet."

As has become tradition, lunch attendees will be able to select a souvenir, one-of-a-kind bowl that has been painted and donated by various members of the community.

"We are still encouraging people to go by (the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids in Gainesville) to paint and donate a bowl," said Blackstock.

"It can be done for as little as $7."

The deadline to paint a bowl at INK, 999 Chestnut St., is Monday.

Although Gainesville-based 2 Dog Cafe will still be providing two different soups for the lunch buffet, the other selections will be slightly different from previous years.

Local McDonald’s restaurants operated by Northeast Georgia Inc., will be donating the other items on the menu.

"They’re going to do things like fruit, grilled chicken and salads," Blackstock said.

"They’ve always been so supportive of everything we’ve always done."

Another addition to this year’s lunch includes a visit from Georgia’s first lady, Sandra Deal.

"Our plan is for her to speak around noon," Blackstock said.

According to organizers, Deal not only plans to attend the event, she also painted and donated a bowl.

The annual fundraiser is held in September because it is recognized nationwide as Hunger Awareness Month.

"Hunger has been a silent epidemic for so long, but not anymore," Blackstock said.

"I think more people are starting to understand that yes, we have families struggling to put food on the table and yes, we have kids coming to school hungry.

"In this economy, folks are aware that people are struggling."

Tickets for the event must be purchased in advance by contacting the food bank.