Ozarks Food Harvest hosts Empty Bowls fundraiser for Weekend Backpack Program

September 28, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Ozarks Food Harvest and Panera Bread are partnering for the ninth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on Sept. 30 to raise awareness and funds for children facing hunger in the Ozarks. In southwest Missouri, 1 in 5 children face hunger.

The event takes place at Panera Bread, 4100 S. Campbell Ave. in Springfield from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30. 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.

“The empty bowls serve as a reminder for the children facing hunger in our community and across southwest Missouri,” said Bart Brown, Ozarks Food Harvest’s president/CEO. “When you purchase a bowl, you’re helping transform hunger into hope as every dollar goes directly to providing a meal to a child in need.”

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 excited to partner again with Ozarks Food Harvest to help children facing hunger in our community,” said Joe Himes, president of the Woodturners of Southwest Missouri. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase our art as well as provide meals to children in need.”

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 from Sept. 26 through Sept 29 at

Since 2014, Empty Bowls has raised more than $50,000 to provide more than 200,000 meals through Ozarks Food Harvest’s programs and network of charities.


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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 reaches 50,000 individuals monthly and provides more than 20 million meals annually. Learn more at,, or