The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life in ways that would’ve been unimaginable a year ago. But, for organizations that provide basic necessities, it is still vital that they raise funds, get supplies to people who need them, and continue to fill the needs as more and more people have had to seek out those support services due to high levels of unemployment.
Each September, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan participates in Hunger Action Month, a national hunger awareness campaign. For more than 20 years, the Food Bank has hosted Empty Bowls, a fundraiser in partnership with the Flint Institute of Arts and local restaurants. Guy Adamec and artisans at the FIA create hundreds of one-of-a-kind bowls for the event each year, and for their donation, attendees get a bowl and soup from a local vendor.
“Every year, hundreds of people provide support to the Food Bank by purchasing tickets, raffle tickets, and auction items during our Empty Bowls event,” said Kara Ross, president and CEO of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, in a news release. “The beautiful bowls handmade each year by Guy Adamec and FIA artisans are a year-round reminder of the need to fight hunger in our community, and we are excited to be able to continue with Empty Bowls this year in a new way.”
The Food Bank has modified this year’s Empty Bowls to make it a contact-free, drive-through event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September 17. Tickets can be purchased online, and attendees can also select a pick-up time at the Food Bank, which is located at 1939 Howard Avenue in Flint. Bowls will be pre-wrapped in a package with a “prepare your own” soup kit that feeds two people. There is also an option to have the package shipped for individuals uncomfortable going in person.
“This year, the COVID-19 pandemic, record numbers of unemployed, and historically catastrophic flooding in five of our northern counties has made the need for food greater than ever,” Ross said in a news release. “Since mid-March, the Food Bank has distributed over 24 million pounds of food – a 95 percent increase over the same time period last year.”
The St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center and Warm Hearts Organization are also using a drive-through format to keep a yearly event going.
Their fourth annual Baby Shower is on September 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with mothers able to register and drive up to receive diapers, thermometers, clothing, educational materials, books, and more. Mothers who are pregnant or have an infant under six months old are eligible to register. After registering, moms drive up and receive a bag packed with items that will be loaded into their vehicles.
Space is limited, so interested moms are encouraged to call (810) 239-8710. The drive-through event is located in the St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center parking lot at 3115 Lawndale Avenue in Flint.