Ticket holders for the Empty Bowls event browse among the artist-decorated bowls Monday at the Albany Civic Center. The fund raiser, which is designed to raise awareness for hunger, benefits the SOWEGA Council on Aging and the Albany Area Arts Council. (Jan. 28, 2013)
ALBANY, Ga. -- When the organizers of the annual Empty Bowls closed up shop around 2 p.m. Monday, there was hardly a bowl left to be had.
After more than 100 people flowed into the conference center space on the ground floor of the center armed with tickets to pick out hand-crafted bowls, there were slim pickings for any late comers.
"When we opened the door at 11 (a.m.), there was a big line of people waiting to get in," Kristen Caso, a city of Albany employee and board member with the Albany Area Arts Council, said. "People know to get the best bowls, you have to get here early."
With their bowls selected, wrapped and bagged, patrons of the joint fundraiser for the Albany Area Arts Council and the SOWEGA Council on Aging sampled soup, gumbo and stews from 18 different area restaurants who had set up on site.
"It's a unique event because people have an opportunity to help two local organizations and they get to take home a one-of-a-kind piece of art from local artists," Izzie Sadler, an executive with the SOWEGA Council on Aging said.
People from all over the region brought their $20 tickets to the Civic Center on Monday to grab a bowl, have a tasty lunch and take in live music and some social time before heading back to work.
Arts Council Executive Director Carol Hetzler said that the empty bowls idea is one that is symbolic of the hunger issues facing the country.
"It's a national movement to draw attention the fact that every community has empty bowls; that there are people who are going hungry each day in this country," Hetzler said.
Hetzler's quote hits close to home at the SOWEGA Council on Aging, whose Meals on Wheels program provides 146,000 meals every year to seniors who aren't able to leave their homes.