Almost 200 Henderson County children have been identified by administrators at their schools as being “food insecure,” i.e., lacking consistent quality nutrition at home. Unlike other policy-minted terms, this one does a good job of illustrating the real anxiety of the situation. Food insecurity is a dense problem that exists in both urban and rural areas, among the working and the unemployed, and across many other social divides.
The Flat Rock Backpack Program does its part by sending supplemental food home with designated students. To raise money, the group partners with Empty Bowls, a grassroots organization chaptered around the world. Alleviating hunger is Empty Bowls’ universal goal, but events are tailored to individual communities. In Henderson County, folks make and donate vessels for a yearly fundraiser. Ticket holders pay for a meal of soup, bread, and dessert, and get to take home the handmade bowl after the meal. Last year, the event raised more than $7,000 — a third of the backpack program’s budget.
Local artist/advocate David Voorhees has worked with Empty Bowls projects in many locations, most notably at MANNA Foodbank in Asheville, and was key in developing the project’s Henderson County presence. “This is our second year having an Empty Bowls event, and since we far exceeded our goals last year, we are trying to gather 400-500 bowls from area potters and clay students,” says Voorhees. The target for this year’s dinner event, he reveals, is a cool $10,000.
Empty Bowls happens Sunday, April 29, 5-7pm, at the Parish House at St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church (1905 Greenville Hwy., Flat Rock). $25/person, $50/family. 828-693-9783. Proceeds benefit the Flat Rock Backpack Program (see the nonprofit’s Facebook page for more information). To donate bowls, call Carol Freeman at 703-505-5247.