South Georgia organizations bring back senior citizen food fundraiser

The return of The Empty Bowl serves to decrease the number of senior citizens in need per year.
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 5:14 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - When it comes to food security, 1 in 15 senior citizens in the U.S. face hunger, according to Feeding That’s a big reason why the SOWEGA Council on Aging and the Albany Area Arts Council brought back their annual fundraising event, “Empty Bowls.”

The Empty Bowls event returned with 175 tickets sold at $35 each. The much-needed funds will fuel a home delivery program the Council on Aging has provided for years. The harsh reality is, is that many senior citizens go hungry every day — sometimes not because they don’t have the money but they simply can’t cook for themselves.

Over 100 bowls that were gifted to event attendees were donated by local artists.
Over 100 bowls that were gifted to event attendees were donated by local artists.(WALB)

“Our home-delivered meals program serves over 150,000 meals to senior citizens throughout a 14-county region so we have such a need that this fundraiser helps to cover that need,” Izzie Sadler, executive director for SOWEGA Council on Aging, said.

The initiative is something a lot of people like Cheryl Jones, an event attendee, always support.

“It’s just always important to make sure the elderly are taken care of,” Jones said.

Even with funds pouring in for the initiative, Sadler said to her it’s much more than raising money.

“We bring awareness to elderly services. It brings awareness to the arts council and it really more than anything brings the community together,” Sadler said.

Feeding America also reports that 6.8% of all seniors experience food insecurity, but Sadler said with the help of resources like the meal delivery, she’s hoping to decrease that number.

Support from the community is what keeps the meal delivery program going.
Support from the community is what keeps the meal delivery program going.(WALB)

“Our delivery meals program is not just for people who can’t afford a meal but it’s somebody who can’t prepare their own meal which means they can’t drive to the grocery store, or they can’t stand up to prepare a meal,’ Sadler said.

Dr. Brenda Hodges-Tiller, another event attendee, said she’s seen some people in the elderly community suffer from not knowing where their next meal will come from — something more people struggled with coming out of the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a blessing to all of us to have these services because they render much-needed help,” Hodges-Tiller said. “For those who have not had the services that they need, there is some catch-up that is going to be needed. This concept is so important, much needed in Dougherty County and southwest Georgia.”

Throughout the years, the meal delivery program has helped more than 1,700 senior citizens throughout the 14 counties the SOWEGA Council serves. If you know a senior citizen in need of food resources, contact 1-800-282-6612, or click here for more information about the meal delivery program.