- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Chefs from Athens-area restaurants plan to dish out soup on Wednesday to spread awareness about food insecurity in northeast Georgia.

They and volunteers intend to pass out soup as part of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia’s 16th annual Empty Bowls Luncheon and silent auction held 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Classic Center.

Guests will receive bowls of soup in hand-crafted or hand-painted bowls from Mudpatch Creations in Winder.

“The bowls we give out at the luncheon serve as a reminder throughout the year of the issues of hunger, so whether people are using them during meals or set them out as conversation pieces, they hopefully will start conversations in the community and people will talk about what they learned about the food bank and how to help,” said food bank events manager Tina Laseter.

About 125,000 people need emergency food assistance in the food bank’s 14-county service area, said Laseter, adding that and a quarter of those in need are children.

The food bank currently is working to increase its yearly distribution of food to help close the 5 million pound food gap found in northeast Georgia via a five-year strategic plan to distribute up to 18 million pounds of food each year. In 2013, the food bank distributed more than 13 million pounds of food and other products - the equivalent of more than 10.6 million meals.

“We are trying to raise awareness to get more people involved in our mission to distribute 18 million pounds of food a year,” Laseter said. “When we present events like the Empty Bowl Luncheon we are able to raise more funds and talk to people about food donations, all of which help us to close the meal gap.”

Restaurants providing soup this year include Center Stage Catering, Brett’s Restaurant, St. Mary’s Hospital’s Fresh Inspiration Cafe, Hilltop Grill, The Last Resort, Classic City Chef, Harry’s BBQ, The Royal Peasant, Home Made Catering and Mama’s Boy.

All proceeds raised at the luncheon will help the food bank distribute more than 246,000 meals each week through agency distribution programs and mobile pantries.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

For more information, contact Laseter at (706) 354-8191 or [email protected]


Information from: Athens Banner-Herald, https://www.onlineathens.com

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