Despite the ongoing pandemic, Ponoka Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is going ahead with its annual Empty Bowls event, and has found a safe and creative way to do so.
“We are very happy to be having this event because most Empty Bowls program have been shut down for the year, but we wanted to forge ahead because our food bank will likely be utilized way more in the months ahead,” said Shelly Van Eaton, Ponoka FCSS program coordinator, adding many people are now unemployed, or facing crises of all kinds.
“We’re trying to put on as many positive events that we can, that are keeping people distanced and safe.”
The event raises awareness and mindfulness to the issue of hunger, both inside and outside our community, she says, as Empty Bowls is a global movement.
Instead of sitting down for lunch, bowls will be for sale outside of FCSS on the sidewalk, and with the purchase of a bowl, you’ll receive a coupon for soup from a participating local business.
The sidewalk event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 21, where you can come and choose your bowl for $20, while physical distancing.
Proceeds of the event will go to the Ponoka Food Bank.
You can take your coupon, to use until Oct. 31, 2020, or place it in the box to donate to people in need.
The donated coupons will then be tallied up, and given out to places in the community (to be determined) that have a need.
About 200 bowls will be on offer, as usual. FCSS buys the clay, and the members of the Ponoka Potters Guild donates their time and talents to make the bowls.
There will also be some cups available for those who prefer to enjoy their soup in a mug.
This year, there are more local businesses donating soup than ever before, says Van Eaton.
Confirmed participating businesses are the Old Iron Horse, Ranchers Castle, the Longhorn Saloon, Subway, Boston Pizza, the Raspberry Patch and The Bird Drug Co.
The late Bob Hepp was a big part of Empty Bowls, Van Eaton says, adding he was always entertaining and hard working at the annual event.
“We’re sure going to miss him this year.”
FCSS is holding its Butterball Bingo today, Oct. 8, starting at 6 p.m., at the Ponoka Auction Mart parking lot on Hwy. 2A.
There will be a prize for the most creative car decorated in either a fall or Thanksgiving theme. The local celebrity caller will be realtor Justin Kelly.
Apply for funding
Individuals, families and organizations that have a need or a positive initiative or event they want to bring to the community are encouraged to apply for grant funding from FCSS.
Examples range from bringing an educational course to town, to signing your kids up for riding lessons, to hosting a block party.
Apply for funding online on FCSS’s website, or visit the office (please wear a mask) and fill out the application form.
For more information about funding or Ponoka FCSS events, contact them at 403-783-4462.