Empty Bowls launches 13th season

Anna Harding, left, and Susan duPont, co-chairs of the Talbot County Empty Bowls committee and pictured at the 2020 community dinner, are enlisting community support as they continue to raise funds for local organizations that provide food for those in need.

EASTON — In February 2020, the Talbot County Empty Bowls volunteers held the 12th annual fundraising dinner to benefit local organizations that provide food for those in need. Each of 10 food pantries received $3,979 from the 2020 dinner, bringing the 12-year total distribution to $238,725.

After the 2020 dinner the Talbot County Empty Bowls planning committee decided to take a break from the annual dinner. The group remains committed to its two-fold mission — to strive to eliminate food insecurity and to raise awareness about hunger in Talbot County.

“It was 13 years ago that the first team assembled in my living room and began imagining a community fundraising dinner that would support the hungry,” said Talbot County Empty Bowls founder and committee co-chair Anna Harding. “The group of volunteers that formed had no idea the event would continue for 12 years.”

“The Mid-Shore Community Foundation will maintain the Talbot County Empty Bowls fund that we established with them in 2009,” she said. “We have plans to add to the fund balance in our MSCF account so that we can carry on the tradition of making donations to local food pantries next spring.”

Empty Bowls fundraising initiatives include applying for grants, several of which have been approved. Talbot County Empty Bowls received a $5,000 grant award from the Qlarant Foundation early in 2020. Easton Utilities, an Empty Bowls supporter for years, also approved a $500 grant.

In the past, supporters have made and purchased homemade bowls and joined in community meals to support the cause.

“So much has changed since we made the decision to change our fundraising strategy,” said Susan duPont, Talbot County Empty Bowls co-chair. “We are living in unimagined circumstances with the impact of COVID-19. Yet some things haven’t changed: The food insecurity that many members of our community experience every day is still an urgent matter.”

Harding and duPont are asking sponsors and donors from the past 12 years to donate to the Talbot County Empty Bowls fund.

“We also plan to ask people who have come to the annual dinner to purchase a $20 ‘virtual ticket’ as a way to support the cause as they have done so generously year after year,” duPont said.

“We are counting on our sponsors, donors, volunteers, and past dinner guests to support a cause that has been important to them for more than a decade,” Harding said.

“We can add thousands of dollars to the Talbot County Empty Bowls fund if each of them donates the equivalent of a $20 ticket purchase,” she said. “We keep our administrative costs low, with the help of the Mid Shore Community Foundation, so that we can donate most of the money raised to food pantries in Talbot County”

The Talbot County Empty Bowls 2021 fundraising campaign will run through Dec. 31. Checks will be distributed to local organizations that feed the hungry in February 2021.

Donations to the Talbot County Empty Bowls fund can be made through Mid-Shore Community Foundation at www.mscf.org; be sure to designate your gift for Talbot County Empty Bowls.

You may also donate by check, payable to MSCF/Empty Bowls; mail checks to Mid-Shore Community Foundation, 102 E. Dover St., Easton, MD 21601.

Follow me on Twitter @connie_stardem.

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