The Seventh Annual Empty Bowls Luncheon held March 18 at Classic's Restaurant in Beatrice was a huge success, according to long-time organizer Patty Kaufman.
The event, with proceeds going to the Beatrice Backpack Program, featured 16 soups provided by volunteer cooks, caterers and other local businesses. In addition to soup, each attendee received a bowl made by students from Southeast Community College's Art Department and Beatrice High School, as well as local artists Ervin Dixon and Patrick McKinney. Down Under Pottery of Lincoln also donated bowls.
Kaufman said she was pleased with this year's turnout of 310.
"It was a great success," Kaufman said.
4 ONE 8, a new restaurant slated to open in Beatrice in April, won the soup contest with its Taco Soup.
Kaufman and Kristy Thies started the program as part of Leadership Beatrice, a Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce program.
"Part of the requirement of the class is to do a community service project, and this was our project," Kaufman said. "We started with 25 backpacks the first year, and now next year we will have grown to 100."
The program provides a backpack full of food every Friday of the school year to supplement the nutrition of the neediest families in the Beatrice area. Kaufman said that sometimes the only nutrition the children receive is in the free breakfast/lunch programs at school.
"Hungry children can't learn and they can't behave, which affects our entire school district," she said.
This year's sponsors:
$1,000 Sponsors - Land O Lakes, Gage County Foundation, Woods Bros., Oregon Trail, Southeast Nebraska Coop, Cornerstone Lutheran Church, Beatrice Hospital Foundation, Exmark Manufacturing, Pinnacle Bank, Ashley Home Furnishings, Leigh Coffin Foundation, Kiwanis, Anytime Fitness.
$500 Sponsors - Members Own Credit Union, Beatrice Ford Lincoln, Shopko Foundation, Beatrice Rotary, Ferguson 7F LLC, Oakview Vet Clinic.
$250 Sponsors - Federated Women's Club, Priority Printing, Antiques Paradise, Nancy Gerdes, Mosaic, Farmers Coop of Dorchester, Caspers Construction, Hill Home Furnishings, Beatrice Educational Association, Security First, Wrightsman Plumbing, Precise Fabrication, Neapco, Beatrice Sertoma Club, Wollenburg Construction, The Medicine Shoppe.
Soup Providers - Back Alley Eatery, Runza, Valentino's, Risky's, Classic's Bar and Grill, Aunt Mary's Center, Ciao By Kristi, Colleen's Catering, The Black Crow, The Rail, Knights of Columbus, Farm Credit Services, Beatrice Community Hospital, Shanghai Inn, Pinnacle Bank, 4 ONE 8.