15th annual Empty Bowls event set for Monday


Guests get to take home an original, handmade bowl. / Tribune file photo

CULLMAN – It’s time again for one of the most popular annual community events. On Monday, Feb. 19, First United Methodist Church Cullman will host the 15th annual Empty Bowls of Cullman County Chili Dinner. It will take place in the church’s Hearin Hall facility.         

The event, organized by Tanya Shearer, aims to raise money for the Cullman Caring for Kids United Way food bank. For a ticket price of $10, guests receive hot, homemade chili, a grilled cheese sandwich and a drink. Guests also get to take home an original handmade bowl.

“The idea is to sell a meal that doesn’t quite fully fill you up, and then you have your empty bowl and you’re reminded of all those less fortunate than you,” Shearer said.          

The bowls are hand crafted by local potters throughout the year.          

Shearer, who began the event as a service learning project back in 2003 when she was attending FUMC Cullman, got the idea from other similar events around the country. While Shearer has since left the FUMC Cullman congregation, she and the church have remained partners year after year to bring the event to the public.          

Shearer estimates that Empty Bowls of Cullman County has raised more than $100,000 for the food bank since 2003.          

“It’s really a great time to bring a lot of people together, you know?” she said. “It puts people in the same room that you normally wouldn’t see together. Different churches, different neighborhoods, all together for a great cause.”          

Every $10 purchase equals 70 pounds of food for the food bank. “That’s a pretty good deal,” Shearer said.          

The event will be going on from 4- 6:30 p.m., with dine-in, carry-out and drive-through options available.

For those who dine in, live gospel music will be provided by Enell Baker, Shannon Green, The Potentials and The Revelations.          

The chili is prepared by head chef Bobby Nolen and Clint Creel.

Tickets may be purchased at FUMC Cullman (320 Third St. SE) or Cullman Caring for Kids (402 Arnold St. NE).

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