Hundreds of people braved the blustery weather and plummeting temperatures to help feed the hungry.
Urbana University’s Student Center hosted Empty Bowls of Champaign County for the seventh year on Thursday. The community meal – which grows in popularity each year — allowed local residents to receive ceramic bowls for a suggested minimum donation of $15, then use the bowls to sample a variety of soups made by local restaurants. The proceeds will be used to alleviate hunger and help food-insecure families in the county.
Second Harvest Development Director Rosemary Bradley, who helped coordinate the event, said every dollar raised makes a large impact on the problem of hunger in the community.
Thursday night’s event raised $14,605 altogether, with $10,500 in sponsorships and $4,255 collected at the meal. A total of 350 bowls were sold the evening of the event. Major Sponsors for the evening were Urbana University for hosting the event for the seventh year in a row; Aladdin Food Management Services for managing the logistics of the soup line; and the following Golden Spoon Sponsors: Champaign County Memorial Foundation, Heidelberg Distributing, Honda Manufacturing and Tri-County Insurance.
The following restaurants donated soups: The Airport Cafe, Aladdin, Cafe’ Paradiso, Carmazzi’s General Store, Coppertop Restaurant, The Depot Coffee House, The Farmer’s Daughter, The Hippie and The Farmer, Loveless Farms, Rock’n Robin and The Spotted Cow and Cosmic Charlie Bread Adventure provided bread.
Proceeds from the event benefit these Second Harvest Food Bank Champaign County member agencies: Caring Kitchen, Concord Community Pantry, SHFB Mobile Pantry – Champaign, North Lewisburg UMC, Oasis of Mercy, Project Woman Baile House, Recovery Zone (Urbana), Stepping Stones, St. Paris Federation of Churches, Wherehouse Pantry and Urbana Senior Center. These agencies assist Champaign County residents who suffer with food insecurity on a regular basis.
According to Feeding America data, 12.7 percent (5,020 individuals) and 21.6 percent (2,010 children) are food insecure in Champaign County.
“Champaign County has over 5,000 people that face food insecurity, and with this small donation we’re able to do quite a bit,” Bradley said. “With every dollar that we receive we’re able to purchase 4-5 meals with that.”
Second Harvest Food Bank has sponsored an Empty Bowls event in Clark County for 24 years, which will take place this year on March 22, and now organizes the event in Champaign County as well as one in Logan County on April 26.