Filling up empty bowls was no problem for the 18th edition of the Hunger & Health Coalition’s annual fundraiser, and that’s a great thing — because that’s how this multi-county nonprofit organization has ever gone about its mission of eradicating hunger in the High Country: one bowl at a time.

This year, Empty Bowls drew more than 500 supporters to the March 30 fundraiser at Watauga High School that allows patrons to choose a handmade ceramic bowl and fill it with soup from a local restaurant for a donation. With that support, and the help of a silent auction, nearly $12,000 in proceeds will help fill the coalition’s food pantry.

For the record, that’s the second highest earnings from the event and the highest number of patrons in attendance, all of which bodes well for the organization’s short term.

Sadly, those short terms seem to get shorter and shorter as food insecurity increases throughout our region. This is why events such as Empty Bowls are so important, and why it’s just as important to continue our support especially when there is no overt fundraiser happening.

Right now, there are many ways to show you care. Hosting a food drive, volunteering, making a donation and simply getting the word out are a sample from the smorgasbord of opportunities available. Visit www.hungerandhealthcoalition.com to view them all.

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