Ozarks Food Harvest hosts eighth Empty Bowls Fundraiser on Sept. 24

September 23, 2021

Local artists donated more than 200 bowls to The Food Bank to support weekend meals for children across the Ozarks

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Ozarks Food Harvest and Panera Bread are partnering for the eighth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on Sept. 24 to raise awareness and funds to fight childhood hunger. Currently, 1 in 5 children in the Ozarks face hunger.

The event takes place at Panera Bread, 4100 S. Campbell Ave. in Springfield from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24. Event-goers can make a donation to receive a handcrafted wood, ceramic or stone bowl with all proceeds benefitting The Food Bank’s Weekend Backpack Program. The first 250 donors will receive a coupon for a free meal of soup and bread, courtesy of Panera. In addition, two donors will be entered into a raffle to win free Panera bagels or bread for a year.

“Each empty bowl at the event represents a child facing hunger in southwest Missouri,” said Denise Gibson, director of development and communication at Ozarks Food Harvest. “When you make a donation to receive a handcrafted bowl, you’re stretching your dollar as far as it can go because we can take $1 and turn that into $10 worth of groceries.”

Local artists and groups donated more than 200 handcrafted bowls to the Empty Bowls fundraiser to support the Weekend Backpack Program. The Woodturners of Southwest Missouri, a chapter of the American Association of Woodturners, have been creating and donating bowls for the event since 2014.

“We’re so happy to be working with Ozarks Food Harvest again to help provide meals to children facing hunger,” said Larry Randolph, former president and current board member of the Woodturners of Southwest Missouri. “This partnership once more allows us to share our art with the community while helping a great cause.”

Each bowl at the event will include information about the artist who made the bowl. Participants can also bid on handcrafted bowls in a virtual silent auction through Sept. 24 at

Since 2014, Empty Bowls has raised nearly $44,000 to provide more than 175,000 meals through Ozarks Food Harvest’s programs and hunger-relief partners.

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About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving 270 hunger-relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank provides 22 million meals annually to more than 261,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at, or