Food bank serves up ‘Empty Bowl’

Homer Community Food Pantry annual lunch fundraising event will take place Friday

The Homer Food Pantry will hold their annual fundraising event, Empty Bowl, on Friday Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Soup, bread and dessert will be donated by several local restaurants and each serving is available for $10. In addition, local potters are donating handcrafted bowls; soup served in the bowls will be available for $40. According to Deb Schmidt, vice president on the food pantry board, more than 70 potters donated bowls last year and donations are still coming in for this week’s event. There will be ukulele music performed at the event from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition to her role as a board member, Schmidt has been involved with the food pantry for many years, serving food, providing orders for the program, writing the newsletter and cooking for the affiliated Free Fridge program.

Throughout the year, donations to the pantry come from many local grocery stores and restaurants, South Peninsula Hospital, and the Homer Farmer’s Market when it’s active in the summer.

The Free Fridge, which recently received a new refrigerator, provides homemade meals to clients 24 hours each day, Schmidt said. It is located outside the Methodist Church and is stocked every day.

“People in need can go to that refrigerator whenever they need something to find food,” Schmidt said. Food for the refrigerator is made by a group of women, “Fridge Ladies,” who use the kitchen at the church twice each week to make enough food to fill the refrigerator, Schmidt said. It is also stocked with donations.

The Homer Elks Club also donates food made in their kitchen to help stock the Free Fridge.

Another upcoming fundraiser to support the Homer Community Food Pantry is the Great Pumpkin Pantry, a canned food drive that occurs with support from the local schools and collections from students, Schmidt said.

“A note I think is important for the community to know is that the pantry spends more than $15,000 each month to provide food services and this comes from both grants and donors. There are three board members with the Homer Food Pantry who assist with the grant writing,” Schmidt said. “We are definitely seeing an increase in needs in the community. There are especially more families coming through and we try to keep things like whole milk, granola bars and cereal available for them.”

There are three people employed by the Food Pantry: New coordinator Kordell Jones holds a full-time position and there is also a weekly dishwasher and assistant cleaner who come in one day each week, Schmidt said.