Empty Bowls for Hunger to raise money for church food pantry

Holly Viers • Jan 20, 2019 at 7:30 AM

KINGSPORT — As many church and nonprofit leaders will tell you, hunger is an ongoing problem for some individuals and families in this region.

Though the problem is daunting, First Broad Street United Methodist Church is one of many that are working to solve it. To raise money for its food pantry, the church is inviting the community to Empty Bowls for Hunger, a dinner that aims to raise awareness about hunger in the city and the surrounding area.

“We constantly are attuned to the fact that hunger is an issue not just in our community but in most all communities, but we are about addressing that,” said Danny Howe, director of missions.

When and where

The event will be held Friday, Feb. 1, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the church’s fellowship hall at 100 E. Church Circle.

What to expect

Guests will be served a simple meal of soups and bread while enjoying a concert from regional celebrity Beth Snapp and her band. Snapp’s “Pop-Alachian” sound is described as a crossover blend of country, bluegrass, pop and folk music. Her latest EP, titled “Don’t Apologize,” is the culmination of years of growth both personally and as an artist.

Kingsport native and potter Kipp Brixey will create and donate bowls for the event. Brixey has been in the pottery scene for nearly 20 years but opened his own shop on Shelby Street just 18 months ago.


Reservations can be made online at fbsumc.org or by calling (423) 224-1502. To make childcare reservations, call Brandy Robinson at (423) 224-1507. The deadline for all reservations is Jan. 30, and the event is expected to sell out.

Each guest will receive a meal, entertainment and an empty bowl handmade by Brixey as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. The cost of the event is $20, and all proceeds will benefit the food pantry at First Broad Street.

Meeting a need

Howe said the pantry gave out 1,618 bags of groceries last year, with an approximate value of $18 per bag. The congregation donates food items on Sunday mornings, and the rest is purchased through Second Harvest Food Bank.

“These funds will go to help subsidize the need for food so that we can fill those bags and provide the community with food,” Howe said. “So this is a tremendous opportunity to enhance what we’re able to do with the proceeds from this event.”


Brixey got the idea for an “empty bowls” event after hearing that similar events had been done internationally with great success. Both Snapp and the church were receptive to such an event, especially because all proceeds will stay in this area.

Snapp and Brixey said if the event is successful, they hope to continue it annually as a way to give back to this community.

“You don’t have to look very far to find hungry people,” Brixey said. “They are, quite literally, in our backyard.”