Empty Bowls said 'amazing' success

Mark another successful year down for Empty Bowls, one of the biggest United Way of Big Spring and Howard County fundraisers.With more than 250 people supporting the annual fundraiser, the organization brought in a little more than $6,000 toward the 2013 campaign goal set at $300,000.“Every year is a success, but this year was just amazing. We changed venues in order to allow more people to experience the event,” United Way Executive Director Sandy Stewart said.The idea of Empty Bowls — geared around bringing attention to the ever growing hunger problem in the world — was started in Big Spring by Pastor Ken McIntosh.“A lot of people credit me with bringing this project to Big Spring, but really, I need to share that credit,” McIntosh said. “Stacy Slaton, Howard College art teacher, was already planning in her own mind to do Empty Bowls on campus and I said 'Stacy, let’s do it for the larger community and work together on this.' She has been a partner in this ever since.”Since its inception, the fundraiser has been held in the fellowship hall of First Christian Church. This year, the United Way board made the decision to change venues because of the ever-growing popularity of the event.“Each year we seem to have more and more people attending and while that’s a good thing, that meant we needed to find a new place in order to ensure all those attending weren’t crammed together and could enjoy their soups and the event comfortably,” Stewart said. “This truly is a community event and we want to see it continue to grow.”Members of the community gathered at Howard College and in the Big Spring High School art department, with the help of art teachers Judith Terelesky and Stacy Slaton, to create the bowls used at Empty Bowls.In addition to several of the chefs participating again, H-E-B has continued its sponsorship support. A new inclusion this year was the Kentwood Elementary School students who created placemats for the event. Kay Smith once again provided the art work used on the flyers, which has included a series of chefs, each year featuring a different chef. Breads were provided by Bill Spiller, Darlene Dabney, Scott MacKenzie and Gayle Pittman and H-E-B Bakery provided the desserts.Chefs this year included Vicki Stewart, Jimmy Stewart, Gayle Pittman, Koila Strickland, Melody Rodgers, Jan Hansen, Jason Brock, Rob Cook, Donna Wright, Walter Brumley, Sylvia Miramontes, Cindy Pittman, Ninfa Rodriguez, Tony Rodriguez and Bill Norris.The 2013 campaign will continue to take donations until Nov. 30. Those wanting to help should contact Sandy Stewart at 432-267-5201.