Apr19

Newsclip: Empty bowls, empty wallets: McKinney fundraiser nets $30K for Community Lifeline Center

While still getting to know the McKinney, Texas community, a sponsorship opportunity came along that we just had to be a part of.

While we are still implementing our operational plans for our new plant in McKinney, Texas, and have only just begun to get to know the community, McKinney’s annual Empty Bowls fundraiser event provided such a perfect fit for Blount Fine Foods that we just had to get involved.  After all, it is our sincere belief that every empty bowl presents an opportunity to enjoy Blount soups.

Here is a story from the McKinney Courier-Gazette’s Chris Beattie covering the event.

Empty bowls, empty wallets: McKinney fundraiser nets $30K for Community Lifeline Center

Chris Beattie, cbeattie@starlocalmedia.com

Apr 16, 2016

They’re going to need more bowls.

If it maintains its annual pace, McKinney’s Empty Bowls event could become the lead example for the global hunger-fighting initiative. Its latest edition, held Thursday evening in and around the McKinney Performing Arts Center downtown, once again bested its predecessor.

At least 800 guests showed up this time, about double last year's – the first at MPAC – and again a dramatic jump from the previous years when St. Peter’s Episcopal Church hosted it.

Unofficial tallies have the monetary pull at around $30,000, around $5,000 more than what the event brought in a year ago. Proceeds go to Community Lifeline Center, a McKinney-based nonprofit that helps residents in crisis get back on their feet.

The center uses the donated funds to stock its client-choice food pantry, where twice a week northern Collin County residents can pick up a day’s worth of meals. Clients’ choice comes in their ability to instead pick up hygiene or household items in addition to food.

With about $30,000 extra, the CLC may be able to offer two days’ worth of food for pickups and potentially double its output from 2015, said Brian Marques, CLC executive director, explaining how food is “a major area of focus” for the center.

Many of CLC’s clients are considered “food-insecure” and must have their physical needs met before any ensuing job training and financial help can have an impact.

“It’s a critical component to our mission,” said Marques, who took the CLC helm last fall, a sense of awe in his tone. “So we couldn’t be more thrilled with the turnout.”

He likely wouldn’t have been so surprised at the turnout had he been with CLC since Empty Bowls began. The event has gotten bigger, better and bowl-der every go-around.

With the move from St. Peter’s to MPAC last year came about a dozen local vendors, who set up shop around the handcrafted bowls, offering soups and samples from their respective menus. That was on the main floor, with professional and priced bowls for sale on the floor below.

On Thursday, more than 800 bowls filled the upstairs, downstairs and outside lawn areas. Whole Foods Market was front and center as the lead sponsor.

Early-access ticketholders joined the new Collector’s Club. All 50 Collector’s Club tickets sold, with club members getting first glance and taste.

Other guests paid $25 for admission and an event bowl. Combined, attendees bought $1,000 worth of wares in addition to the event bowls. More than $3,100 came in through the auction, and raffle ticket purchases also increased.

Art students from Allen High School and McKinney High School again contributed bowls, though the majority came from potters and painters with McKinney Art Studio, the Art House of McKinney and SPARC.

The artists began creating Thursday’s inventory back in July.

“The flow of art into this has been amazing,” said Jamie St.Clair, Empty Bowls McKinney organizer. “It’s grown beyond my wildest dreams.”

At least for a year, dreams for residents in need will come a little easier. Despite a yearly promotional grant from the McKinney Community Development Corp., Empty Bowls organizers typically use some proceeds to cover expenses – that meant about half last year.

This week’s event got enough money from sponsors to cover expenses, so all money raised during the event will go to CLC, according to St.Clair.

One of those sponsors, Blount Fine Foods out of Massachusetts, hasn’t even opened its food source plant in McKinney yet. But it knew about Empty Bowls, just like so many others in and around the city.

They all know they’re going to need more bowls.

“We’ll start planning next year in a couple of weeks,” St.Clair said.

Photo credit: Kelsey Kruzich, staff photo

See the full story here.