Sixth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser will help provide meals in southwest Missouri

September 24, 2019

Local artists donated more than 300 bowls for the event supporting feeding programs across the Ozarks

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Ozarks Food Harvest and Panera Bread are partnering for the sixth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger. Currently, 1 in 5 children and 1 in 7 adults in southwest Missouri may not know where their next meal will come from.

The event will be held at Panera Bread, 4100 S. Campbell Ave. in Springfield from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. Event-goers can make a donation to receive a handcrafted wood, ceramic or stone bowl and a meal of soup and bread, courtesy of Panera.

“Each empty bowl displayed at the event represents an individual who isn’t sure where his or her next meal will come from,” said Denise Gibson, director of development and communication at Ozarks Food Harvest. “The prevalence of hunger in the Ozarks is heartbreaking, but each year, this event helps raise funds and awareness about our neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Since 2014, Empty Bowls has raised more than $30,000 to provide 120,100 meals through Ozarks Food Harvest’s programs and hunger-relief partners.

All of the donated bowls are handcrafted by local artists. The Woodturners of Southwest Missouri have been creating and donating bowls since 2014. The group—a chapter of the American Association of Woodturners—gathers to discuss woodturning and strengthen the woodturning community once a month.

“It’s a blessing to feel like you’ve shared a part of your life and work with somebody else, and it’s a blessing to help somebody else,” shared David VanGiesen, a member of the Woodturners of Southwest Missouri.

Each bowl at the event will have a suggested donation price, along with information about the artist who made the bowl. There will also be several unique bowls available through a silent auction. In addition, those who make a donation will be entered into a raffle to win Panera bagels or bread for a year.

# # #

About Ozarks Food Harvest — The Food Bank
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, providing food to 270 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties serving 261,000 unduplicated individuals. The Food Bank provides more than 18.5 million meals annually. Learn more at, or