It's an event where participants can buy a bowl to help fill someone else's.
The Wilson County Community Help Center's annual "Empty Bowls" fundraising luncheon to help fill the center's food pantry is set for Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Winfree Bryant Middle School at 1213 Leeville Pike in Lebanon.
Organizers said the final bowls are fired and ready for the 2012 Empty Bowls Luncheon. Linda Erwin, board member of the WCCHC, oversaw the creation of more than 600 bowls for this year's event and reported in a series of workshops to make the bowls for the event, organizers have used more than 700 pounds of clay, with local participation of more than 400 members from 12 organizations.
Erwin said the job has been worth the outcome. In the past two years, events have raised more than $22,000 for the Help Center to help fight hunger.
Sandy Jenkins is one of the people who has been hard at work to create the bowls and to make the event a success. She said people who didn't buy advance tickets can get them at the door for $15. The event will include lunch, a silent auction and a chance for participants to select one of the hand made bowls to take home as a reminder that someone's bowl is always empty.
Jenkins was working on the event Thursday.
"Everything is good, Jim Ramano and I are at Western Kentucky University today to pick up bowls the art students donate to us," she said. "The whole thing is done by volunteers."
Once again one of the most exciting items in the silent auction will be a fire pit by celebrated local artist Rick Wittrig, whose work has been showcased at the Vancouver Olympic Games and an ESPN Super Bowl party.
Wittrig not only helps the center by donating fire pits for the Empty Bowls luncheon, he is also on the organization's board of directors. He became involved with the Help Center after the first time he donated a fire pit for the event.
"We've got some real challenges there, and we're happy to do this for the Help Center and the Empty Bowls Project," he said. "We hope to raise some good money for the Help Center; it's needed."
Wittrig said many would be surprised at how much the center does for those in need.
"We touch a lot of people with the Help Center, more than most people know or think about it," Wittrig said.
The auction will also feature "Bling Boots" for the cowgirl who has everything, wood turned bowls, inlaid bowls and a fish sculpture by local artist Forrest McDaniel.
Help Center Director Gail Proctor said it's hard to overestimate how important the Empty Bowls event is to her organization since the proceeds go directly toward buying food for the food boxes the center distributes to the community. The event is also the center's main fundraiser of the year.
The WCCHC, a United Way agency, serves Wilson and surrounding counties, providing assistance with food, clothing, rent, utilities and emergency medical expenses. A thrift store, open to the public, is filled with donations from local residents providing additional income to supplement the needs of the community.
The Help Center also serves as a referral center with local churches and other agencies to assist with providing housing and transportation. The organization also partners with Second Harvest Food Bank to buy food in bulk. Middle Tennessee Electric Customers Care provides grants for a variety of financial necessities for Wilson County families.
For more information, contact the Help Center at 615-449-1856. For more information about Wittrig's work, visit firepitart.com or call 615-668-3311.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.