Empty Bowls Event Will Help Fill Bowls of Neighbors in Need

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Local potters, woodworkers, and glassblowers have spent countless hours making bowls this past year to donate to Empty Bowls, an annual event that aims to fill the empty bowls of Pierce County residents in need.

Each year, the line starts forming an hour before the doors open. Then the search for the “best” bowls begins. Preference, of course, is relative. One person might grab a bowl donated by Throwing Mud Gallery, and another person chooses a bowl made by a local artist at the Washington State Fair. Once selections are made and purchased, with all proceeds going to Emergency Food Network (EFN), attendees make their way to eat free soup, donated and served by Chambers Bay Grill, Indo Asian Street Eatery, Infinite Soups, Pacific Grill, Spring Lake Café, Stanley and Seaforts, The Swiss, and X-Group Restaurants.

It’s an annual tradition enjoyed by more than 500 people each year. More than 1,000 bowls are purchased for the home or for holiday gifts, and more than 700 bowls of soup are consumed over two and a half hours. This year’s event is Saturday, November 18, 2017 at Charles Wright Academy from 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm. Admission is FREE. Bowl prices start at $10.

Empty Bowls began as a grassroots project for local artists and community members to work together to assist people suffering from hunger. The event now spans to twelve countries and many states across the U.S., generating millions of dollars for various hunger relief agencies. For the last 18 years, EFN has hosted Empty Bowls in Pierce County, highlighting works from talented veteran artists and new local talent. In 2016, EFN raised over $31,000 from Empty Bowls. This is the equivalent of 160,000 meals for food-insecure Pierce County residents.

Sponsors for this year’s Empty Bowls event include Heartland Express, Whole Foods Market Chambers Bay, Coordinated Care, HomeStreet Bank, Inn at Gig Harbor, Johnson Stone and Pagano, Kidder Matthews, Panattoni Development, UFCW Local 367, and Zack Rosenbloom & Associates.

The continued success of Empty Bowls is due to the overwhelming community support from artists who donate the bowls, volunteers who set up and help run the event, local restaurants that donate soup, and the 500-plus community members who attend the event.

For more information about Empty Bowls www.efoodnet.org/event/empty-bowls-2017


Abundance Will Provide Millions of Meals for People in Need

A delicious dinner, exciting live and silent auctions, and an opportunity to help families in need. Emergency Food Network’s Abundance Dinner and Auction provides a fun way for people to come together to make an impact on food insecurity in Pierce County.

On October 28, 2017, more than 400 attendees of this annual fundraising event will share their abundance in support of Emergency Food Network at the Clover Park Technical College McGavick Center. The event raises more than $378,000 that will result in 2 million meals for hungry families and individuals throughout the community.

The evening begins with a silent auction, and moves on to a dinner and live auction. Items available to the highest bidders include tickets to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last race at the 2017 Ford Ecoboost 400, a trip to Hawaii, and keys to a 2013 Lamborghini Gallardo for two days.

Waste Connections and Franciscan Foundation are the Presenting Sponsors of Abundance. Other sponsors include Chuckals Office Products, DaVita, Financial Insights, Gordon Thomas Honeywell, Gus Paine Insurance, Heartland Express, Heritage Bank, HomeStreet Bank, Host Hospitality, Johnson Family Properties, KeyBank, LaborWorks, MultiCare Health System, Murray Pacific Corporation, Panagiotu Pension Advisors, Snuffin’s Catering, The Boeing Company, Timberland Bank, Sheri Tonn, UFCW Local 367, West Shore Contracting, Whole Foods Market Chambers Bay, and Zack Rosenbloom & Associates.

There are still seats available to attend Abundance. Visit the Emergency Food Network website for more information or to buy tickets.


Breaking Hunger Targets Food Insecurity

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Trap shooting, archery, food, and fun. Emergency Food Network’s Breaking Hunger Trap Shooting and Archery Tournament is one of the few fundraising events of its kind in the Northwest.

On August 11, 2017, the Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club will host teams of shooters for this 5th annual event. Shooters at the event will take aim and fight hunger, and will be given the opportunity to break 50 clay pigeons as well as participate in an archery contest. A delicious barbecue is included in the festivities. Participant are encouraged to find friends and family to pledge money to support their efforts.

Individuals of all skill levels are encouraged to participate. Participants will range from some of the top shooters in the state to complete beginners. Awards will be given for skill, but most importantly for raising funds to help provide food for families and individuals in need throughout Pierce County.

Interstate Distributors Co. is the Presenting Sponsor of Breaking Hunger. Other sponsors include Zack Rosenbloom & Associates, Brown & Brown Insurance, and UFCW Local 367.

All funds raised at the event go toward fulfilling Emergency Food Network’s mission “to provide Pierce County with a consistent, diverse, and nutritious food supply so that no person goes hungry.” EFN provides 14.8 million pounds of food annually to 68 food pantries, shelters, and meal sites in Pierce County. EFN is the primary distributor of emergency food in the county, distributing $12 worth of food for every $1 donated.

There are still available spots to participate at Breaking Hunger! For more information, to register for the event, or make a donation, visit the Breaking Hunger website (https://efoodnet.donorpages.com/BreakingHunger2017).

Hunger Walk & 5K Run will help provide dairy to families in need.

Does a stroll through in the park sound like a great way to spend your Saturday morning? How about a run on the trails? At the Hunger Walk & 5K Run you can enjoy either of these and help your neighbors in need at the same time.

On May 20, Emergency Food Network is hosting the Hunger Walk & 5K Run at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood. Participants in this 37th annual event will walk around Waughop Lake or run through the trees in a chip-timed 5K. Family-friendly activities and live music are also provided at the start/finish line.

“The community’s involvement in this event will have a profound impact on our neighbors who need our help,” said Helen McGovern-Pilant, Executive Director at Emergency Food Network.

Throughout the year, EFN distributes a variety of food that is donated by farmers, the government, and community members. However, to ensure there is a reliable source of staple foods available for food pantries, Emergency Food Network also purchases, by the semi-truckload, six staple items including rice, beans, oats, canned fruit, canned vegetables, and a frozen protein.

The funding from the Hunger Walk & 5K Run will help Emergency Food Network add dairy to list of items regularly purchased, fulfilling the need for more dairy in the emergency food system.

The Hunger Walk & 5K Run was previously hosted by Associated Ministries. At the beginning of this year, they passed the leadership of the event on to Emergency Food Network, however, Associated Ministries is still very involved in the event.

Emergency Food Network has seen a great amount of support from local businesses for the Hunger Walk & 5K Run. Event sponsors include Tucci & Sons, Waste Connections, Commencement Bank, Coordinated Care, Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala, Whole Foods Chambers Bay, and Zack Rosenbloom & Associates.

For more information or to register for the Hunger Walk & 5K Run visit www.efoodnet.org.

Hunger Awareness Month is May 2017

Emergency Food Network brings awareness to hunger in Pierce County with opportunities for community members to get involved in local hunger relief.

May 2017 is officially Hunger Awareness Month. This first-time proclamation in Pierce County is designed to inspire community members to take action and raise awareness about the need in Pierce County. More than 1.3 million visits are made to food pantries, meal sites, and shelters by residents in Pierce County each year. 54% of these visits are children and seniors.

“May is the perfect time to bring attention to hunger as food pantries and meal sites are gearing up for one of the busiest times of the year,” said Helen McGovern-Pilant, Executive Director of Emergency Food Network.

There are approximately 60,000 children in the Pierce County school system who receive free or reduced breakfast and/or lunch. When schools are out for the summer break these students will no longer receive the one or two meals provided each day at school. Many of these children and their families will rely on food from food pantries or meal sites to help supplement their nutritional intake during the summer months.

“There are many ways to make a difference in the month of May,” said McGovern-Pilant. “We’ve made it easy for community members to join us in providing the increased food that will be needed when families in need make extra trips to the food pantry.”

Pierce County residents are encouraged to get involved in the month of May by choosing at least one or more activities to help their neighbors in need. Hunger Awareness Month activities include leaving a donation of food out by your mailbox during the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, walking or running at the Hunger Walk & 5K Run,  volunteering at Emergency Food Network’s warehouse or Mother Earth Farm, and more. See a complete list of Hunger Awareness Month events and volunteer opportunities.

The largest Hunger Awareness Month event is the Hunger Walk & 5K Run on May 20 at Fort Steilacoom Park. Opportunities to walk around the lake, run through the trees in the chip-timed 5K, or volunteer at the event are all available. Visit the Hunger Walk & 5K Run website for more information or to register.