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Empty Bowls event in Brownwood brings in record amount of money

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - An annual event a Brownwood-based Christian non-profit holds raised a record amount of money on Thursday.

Good Samaritan Ministries' 8th annual Empty Bowls project brought in $27,819, according to Communication Director Misty Bowers.

Ninety percent of the money raised will go towards their mission of feeding the hunger in Brown County. The remainder will be donated to the international agency Food for the Hungry.

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The Christian non-profit Good Samaritan Ministries says one in five people in Brown County go to sleep hungry, but their annual fundraiser held Thursday aimed to raise money to help solve the issue.

The 8th annual Empty Bowls Project took place during a lunch and dinner session at the Brownwood Coliseum, and people could try soups made by area businesses for $10.

"In 2014, over 18 percent of the people living in Brown County suffered from poverty," said executive director Leesa Stephens, who was overseeing the event for her first time. "In the outer edges of the county, it's like a food desert. There's no store there, there's no place for them to buy their food."

Ninety percent of the money that's generated on Thursday will go towards feeding the hungry in Brown County. The other 10 percent will be donated to an international hunger relief agency.

Darlene Wall has gone to Empty Bowls since its inception and she's noticed how much it has grown. She also said the decorated ceramic bowls that are given to each person who buys a ticket serve as a stark reminder of the impoverished county residents.

"Hunger is not just a national problem, it's a Brownwood problem," Wall said. "We need to be aware of it and we need to do something about it."

Sydney Spencer, a senior at Howard Payne University, said interning with Good Samaritan opened her eyes to local hunger.

"It's really wonderful giving back to the community, and advocating for the people who can't advocate for themselves," Spencer said.

Last year's Empty Bowls Project raised $27,000.

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