An Empty Bowls Letter From Charlie Meng, AFAC’s CEO

Unfortunately once again, Empty Bowls is a virtual event this year. I say unfortunately because this has always been my favorite annual AFAC event. It is a time when we gather over a simple bowl of soup and enjoy the camaraderie of each other’s company.

Empty Bowls brings together our volunteers – from brand new to seasoned volunteers; board members from long ago and those still serving; staff members working today or here to see old friends; our spouses and children, many of whom have also volunteered with AFAC; and finally, our many friends and supporters who sustain AFAC.

I want to take a moment to thank all of our Empty Bowls sponsors, especially our top sponsors TD Bank and Bill & Karen King, for continuing to lend their support to this event, even when it cannot be held in person.

Another special thanks goes out to our local ceramicists. We wanted to try something new this year and have our Empty Bowls raffle available online. Thanks to the artists’ generosity, 20 of their items are included in the raffle, which ends on Sunday, February 13.

For 34 years, AFAC has relied on your help to serve the families who come to us for healthy, fresh, and nutritious groceries. AFAC has changed greatly in those 34 years – we have added buildings, staff, and vehicles. The one thing that has not and will not change is the centrality of our volunteers and of our 2nd mission to build a culture of volunteerism in our community.

In the coming weeks, a number of changes will be announced. Covid may have affected us all but it has not stopped our staff from planning for the future. We have come a long way in those 34 years, but there remains far too many individuals and families who do not have enough to eat – a need our early volunteers saw when they founded AFAC and one that we will continue to address long into the future.

I want to thank you for continually being with us. While I am deeply disappointed Empty Bowls can not be in person, I am confident that there will be a day when we can once again enjoy the company of old friends. Until that day, thank you for all you do for AFAC and for our families.


Charlie Meng