Brownwood fundraiser to help combat local poverty draws large crowd amid county cuts

Every year, many people in Brown County look forward to attending a fundraiser where by purchasing a bowl of soup, they get to help combat food scarcity in the county.

Good Samaritan Ministries hosted its 9th annual Empty Bowls Project on Thursday inside of the Brownwood Coliseum, with a line that began forming outside the venue before its doors even opened.

"Look at how many people are here. It was full at 11 o'clock and that's when the doors opened," said Ann Jones, who has attended every Empty Bowls Project event since it began.

The event is Good Samaritan Ministries' largest fundraiser of the year and the funds they collect from the event will go directly toward feeding the hungry.

"It's a worthy cause, very worthy," Sharon Horine said while waiting in line with her husband to get a bowl of soup. "We have a lot of homeless people. We have a lot of people in need and it just serves such a wonderful purpose."

For $10, people had the option of selecting from at least 20 different soups that were donated to the event by Brownwood businesses, restaurants and residents.

The ticket price also covered getting one out of the nearly 1,800 ceramic bowls that were designed by Brown County residents, which represent someone in Brown County going to bed hungry.

"Collectively, we are all God's children regardless of race, creed and we just need to come together and do more events like this," Harold Hogan, a first-time attendee who enjoyed taco soup, said.

Good Samaritan Ministries Board President David Williams said that the nonprofit took a financial hit this year after Brown County Commissioners cut the county's contribution to the organization from $14,000 to $4,800.

"Every month the budget gets met, people get fed and we're just thankful for that," Williams said.

Ninety percent of the funds raised at Thursday's event will go toward fighting hunger in Brown County, while the rest of the funds from the event will be tithed to an international ministry.

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