Food Bank of Lincoln Hosts Drive-Thru Empty Bowls Event

LINCOLN, Neb. (June 1, 2021) – More than 400 bowls and to-go cups of soup were distributed at the Food Bank of Lincoln’s Empty Bowls To Go! event held today at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Festival Lot. Ticket sales, sponsorships and individual donations combined for more than $70,000, enabling the Food Bank to provide an estimated 210,000 meals to neighbors facing hunger in its 16-county service area in Southeast Nebraska.

To maintain pandemic safety precautions, the event was conducted outdoors in a drive-thru format for the second consecutive year. Event guests remained in their vehicles as they received a handcrafted bowl from Down Under Pottery, to-go cup of soup, and individually wrapped cookie from The Cookie Company. This year, soup was provided by longtime event partners: Billy’s Restaurant, Buzzard Billy’s, La Paz and Wham Bam Meal in a Pan.

“We are grateful to partners and supporters who took part in this shared experience centered on food and community. Although we weren’t yet able to gather and dine together in a single room, Empty Bowls remains a beloved event. It makes hundreds of thousands of meals possible for neighbors who experience a deeper inconvenience than we do in having to adjust how we present the event,” Food Bank of Lincoln President and CEO Michaella Kumke said. “Attendees traveled from across Lincoln and from nearby communities, including Waverly and Seward, to participate. We even had family and friends visit from Hastings! We appreciate the commitment to the ongoing success of our mission and the event.”

The first Empty Bowls event was held in 2003 with 150 in attendance. Over the course of its 19-year history, the Food Bank estimates the event has connected neighbors to more than 3.75 million meals. Local artist and owner of Down Under Pottery, Kathleen Grossman, along with her students, donated all of the handcrafted bowls for the event. To date, Grossman has donated more than 15,000 bowls for this event, which serve as a symbol for all the bowls that have been filled and all the bowls that still need to be filled in the community.

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