Elgin Fundraiser Served Up Success in the Face of Adversity


Like everything in 2020, the fourth annual Elgin Empty Bowl looked a little different. Born out of a desire to hold the event and honor the safety and wellbeing of the community, the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry decided to hold a modified curbside event for 2020 in lieu of the full in-person event.  Despite the changes to Empty Bowl, the support from the community remained just as strong if not stronger! 

This year, instead of sampling lots of yummy, delicious soups, the participants drove through the parking lot of the SPJST Lodge Hall 18 and received a generous collection of coupons from local restaurants—as well as the iconic painted bowl. Elgin’s restaurant community showed overwhelming support for the event at a time when they were being hit hard by the pandemic. The event also included the usual silent auction, but with the twist of being on-line and hosted by local realtor, Kelly Shoulders-Koenning and the Jeannette Shelby Realty company (THANK YOU). It featured theme baskets, artisan goods, and creative works by local artists. 

On that windy day on November 11, 2020, the indelible spirit of the community showed through! The Food Pantry staff and volunteers handed out 76 bags to the curbside participants. The chair for the event, Stephanie Wood, said, “To get that many people to participate when it’s not the full blown experience, says a lot about the unwavering support for this community and their desire to help get rid of hunger in Elgin one bowl at a time.” She went on to say that none of it could have been accomplished without the generous support from the event sponsors and local restaurants. 

One of the highlights of the day came when Domino’s Pizza treated all of the staff and volunteers to free pizza and provided coupons for the bags that day for a free pizza!  Also, one of the new sponsors, Melinda and Anthony Basquez, with Elgin Butler Company, came to the event and helped pass out bags to the participants. The SPJST Lodge Hall 18 deserves a special shout out for opening the doors of the facility for staff and volunteers to use during the two and a half hour event! Last but not least, a special shout of out to the staff and for the Board of Directors at the Food Pantry, especially Stephanie Wood and Barbara Adkins, who work tirelessly to make it such an amazing event! 

Since 1990, communities throughout the U.S. and at least 14 other countries have adopted the “Empty Bowl” theme to educate the public about the extent of local poverty and to fund local efforts to alleviate food uncertainty of those living in poverty or on its precarious edge.  All such events, like Elgin’s, are independently organized but share this common message.