Vince Giaccone, president of the Zachary Food Pantry’s board of directors, told School Board members at their Aug. 18 meeting that the entire board and food bank volunteers are appreciative and grateful for the funds generated each year at the Empty Bowls fundraiser at Zachary High School.

“Filling a bowl with soup for dinner seems like such a simple task, but far too many people have neither the bowl nor the soup and wonder when they’ll have their next meal,” Giaccone said.

“Thanks to the Empty Bowls fundraiser, the Zachary Food Pantry continues to meet the needs of our community.”

Giaccone said not only does the board admire the efforts of art teachers and organizers Mandy Bradley and Chloe McCleary but also the work put in by Zachary High students who handcraft an average of about 400 bowls for the event.

This is the fifth year students and the high school have partnered with the community in raising money for hungry families in Zachary and several in Slaughter.

Students work for weeks before the April event, sculpting, painting and glazing bowls in exchange for a $10 donation, and at the end of the night, attendees get to select a student-designed bowl of their choice to take home as a reminder of their part in feeding the hungry in the community.

The food pantry feeds about 75 families each week, with more signing up during the holidays.

A total of about $3,000 is raised each April at the event, McCleary said.

“Your contributions have made it possible for many residents to know when their next meal will be. You’ve promoted the arts among our children and brought together our community for a food cause,” Giaccone said.

Bunny Bread, Chris’ Meats and Raising Cane’s sponsor the bread, gumbo and iced tea, respectively, each year for the Empty Bowls event.

Nonprofit Imagine/RENDER Group first launched Empty Bowls 25 years ago, striving to create positive and lasting change through the arts, education and projects that build communities.