The soup kitchen’s electric bill is $246 a week. The phone bill is $100 a month. There are building and equipment repairs that need to be made.
And, of course, there’s food that has to be put on the table.
Last Sunday’s 9th annual Carroll County Empty Bowls event at the Ag Center raised $26,800 to help the soup kitchen meet the expenses it faces in its mission to help serve those who are hungry.
“A lot of the goal is getting the word out to the community about the work of the soup kitchen,” said Carol Boyd, who organizes the Empty Bowls event.
“This year we were trying to help people understand that the soup kitchen is run entirely on a basis of donations and volunteers. There is no paid staff. They do have expenses that have to be met.”
The Carroll County Soup Kitchen on Beulah Church Road in Carrollton provides meals the last full week of each month and Monday and Thursday of every week, from 11 a.m. to noon. It serves more than 3,000 hot meals each month, with much of the food donated by schools, churches, civic organizations and individuals.
Empty Bowls’ contribution this year will be significantly larger than in 2012, when the event raised $23,500.
“The community’s response to this event is amazing,” Boyd said. “It takes many, many volunteers. More than 100 volunteers were working on day of the event, and there are lot more volunteer tasks in the days leading up to it.”
So much was contributed to Empty Bowls that Boyd said the event’s overhead came to just $126.
“We are extremely grateful for all the donations and help that people gave us,” she said.
Donors pay $10 for a bowl of soup and one of the thousand or so bowls that are created throughout the year by artists and other individuals and groups. The four-hour event includes a silent auction for products donated by artists, businesses and others. Entertainment is provided by a variety of musicians and vocalists.
The soup — there were 34 varieties offered last Sunday — are made and donated by local chefs, restaurants and residents.
“That was an amazing contribution,” Boyd said.
No official head count was taken Sunday, but Boyd believes more than 1,000 people attended, based on the number of paper bowls that were used.
Planning for next year’s event will begin in a few days.
“This Wednesday we have our evaluation meeting, and we’ll look at what we did this year and how we can improve next time around,” Boyd said.
Empty Bowls is an international effort to fight hunger and was created by The Imagine Render Group. The fundraising effort started about 20 years ago in the upper Midwest and has spread all over the globe.