Fill a bowl, feed a soul, and help fight hunger with a warm heart and a full stomach. The second annual Empty Bowls Dinner is set for Friday, March 12, at Tartan Hall in Franklin. The fundraising event is a great opportunity for people to make a difference both in the community and abroad. It is hosted by Franklin High School’s Interact and Art Clubs, the doors open at 5 p.m., and the food, live music and entertainment will run until 8 p.m.

The basic premise of the dinner is simple: guests are invited to choose from any of several hundred handcrafted ceramic bowls, they are then served a simple meal of soup, bread, and dessert. The guests are asked to keep their bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls around the world. In exchange for the meal and the bowl, guests are suggested to make a minimum donation of $10. All proceeds from the dinner will go towards the effort to end hunger. Like last year, all proceeds will be donated locally to Care Net, and internationally to Partners in Health in Haiti (

As a result of the continuing economic recession, Care Net is under greater strain keeping their pantries stocked than in any previous years. Haiti currently stands as the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and after the tragic earthquake suffered in January, the people of Haiti are in dire need of support, now more than ever. Empty Bowls offers the opportunity to pitch in a helping hand to real people.

Students in several art classes at the high school have been creating bowls all semester that are dinnerware and dishwasher safe. Parents, community members, and local businesses are making the soups, breads and desserts for the event. FHS’s Jazz Band will be playing throughout the evening, and Danny Antoine will be performing live karate demonstrations as well. There will also be Franklin High students handcrafting pottery bowls on the throwing wheel. In addition, there will be representatives on hand from both of the organizations receiving the donations to provide information about the fight against hunger. There will be disposable bowls available for families that wish to attend the dinner but can’t afford several bowls.

Empty Bowls began in 1990 as an international endeavor to fight hunger. The goals of this project are to raise money to help fight hunger, to raise awareness about the issues of hunger and food security and to help bring about an attitude that will not allow hunger to exist.

Local sponsors include The Noon Time Rotary, Daybreak Rotary, Ronnie Beale, and United. Tartan Hall is located at First Presbyterian Church, 26 Church Street in Franklin. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the nicest bowls go fast!

(Lauren Stenger, a senior at FHS, and I got the Empty Bowls Project underway at Franklin High School in fall 2008. The first Empty Bowls Dinner was a tremendous success, drawing well over two hundred people. With the help of Joan Lansford, FHS art teacher, and several other students, we have been working diligently with high hopes of building upon the success of last year’s event. We are able to accept cash and checks only. But remember that the donations are tax-deductible. Anyone who can’t make it to the dinner but would like to support the cause should contact Joan Lansford at the high school or at 828.506.9318. Checks can be made out to Empty Bowls and sent to the school. )

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