Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rotarians & Kids Against Hunger (& me too!)

I spent this morning at Biltmore Park with the Rotarians and Kids Against Hunger, packing meals for quake victims in Haiti.  It was an incredible organized effort that gave people of all ages an opportunity to help out, and at the end of my shift, we had packed almost 65,000 meals.

a very well organized group of volunteers led us to our stations

we were a well-oiled machine!  our station ended up bagging about 550 meals

Kids Against Hunger is an international organization providing highly nutritious meals to children here at home and around the world.  While these meals we packed today are slated for Haiti, locally they have programs (this group operates through Mission Hospital) that package meals that are then distributed by MANNA FoodBank to hungry children in Western North Carolina.

And while I'm on the subject, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Empty Bowls Project, started by two of my local heroes, John Hartom and his wife Lisa Blackburn.  We've already started planning events for the Asheville Empty Bowls luncheon that takes place on World Food Day (October 16).  I'm working both with MANNA FoodBank (the beneficiary of the event) and with Imagine Render, the non-profit that founded Empty Bowls.  It's frustrating and challenging to acknowledge that in a world that does indeed have an abundance of food, hunger is a major issue in many countries and most often in all our communities.  So it's not something to celebrate that 20 years in we still need to bring awareness to the issue, but it is something to celebrate that for the past 20 years, the Empty Bowls Project has helped people realize their own power to effect change and help their community.

potter Heather Tinnaro & Empty Bowls founder John Hartom
at the 2007 Asheville Empty Bowls Luncheon

So we're shining a big spot light on Empty Bowls this year to mark the 20 year anniversary, and we're trying to find all sorts of big fancy famous folk to participate.  Why?  Well they have much bigger pulpits than most of us, and they can help bring awareness to a much larger audience.  Many already do, and in addition to latching on to those big, fancy, famous coattails, it's a good opportunity to acknowledge the work they do.  So if you know any big, fancy, famous people, or even any small, schleppy famous people, and you think they'd like to do a little something to help end hunger, have them contact me or Imagine Render (via my contact here or at the Empty Bowls website) and we've got a very cool project they can help with.  And hey, if any of the big/small/fancy/schleppy/famous folk I know want to help or have friends in that category who want to help, send them on too!

making bowls at the Imagine Render studio in Burnsville, NC

There's plenty for the rest of us too - I'll start throwing bowls for use in our Empty Bowls event soon, and I invite everyone who reads this to find an event in your area to get involved with.  Make a bowl, make some soup, help organize the event, buy a bowl!  No event?  Start one!  Or go and find your local foodbank and just ask them how you can help. 

It's gratifying to hear a couple hours work resulted in 65,000 meals, and while it's a drop in the hunger bucket, it also shows how easy it is to find a way to help. 

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