LAKE STEVENS — Sophina Nunez remembers what it’s like to rely on neighbors for a meal.
She was 5 when her family moved to Lake Stevens. For years, her single mother, who worked at a fast food restaurant, used the Lake Stevens Community Food Bank to help feed her two children.
“We were poor. That’s how we ate,” Nunez said. “They were always so kind. I never felt ashamed for being there.”
The family’s economics improved when Nunez was about 12 and trips to the food bank became a part of her past. But Nunez has never forgotten what the meals and the kindness meant to her and her family.
She is happy to be in a place where she can give back. Nunez is the office manager at Lake Stevens Ankle and Foot Clinic. The clinic and its doctors are sponsoring their second fundraiser to support the food bank.
The public is invited to purchase handcrafted ceramic bowls and share a meal to raise money for families in need and to also support a capital campaign to build a new food bank. Empty Bowls is a fundraiser that has helped fight hunger around the world, Nunez said.
Other sponsors include Team Fitness, Contos’ Pizza and Pasta, Bruno’s Pizza and Pasta, Alexander Printing in Everett, Hawkeyes Pub, 5 Rights Brewing Co. and Sahara Pizza.
The event in Lake Stevens is scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 14 at Team Fitness, 1109 Frontier Circle East. Soup and beverages, including wine and beer will be served.
Diners also will be able to choose from 300 ceramic bowls. Prices range from $5 to $100. Some of the participating artists are Les Norton from Woodinville, Persis Gayle from Arlington and world renowned ceramics artist Aikiko.
Dr. Colyn Nouv, a podiatrist who joined the Lake Stevens clinic a couple months ago, also is donating bowls she made in her garage studio in Snohomish. She took ceramics classes in high school. She picked up the hobby again in medical school.
As a doctor it’s important to be creative to find solutions for patients seeking help, she said. Ceramics taps into that same energy, as you try to see things in a different light, Nouv said. She’s made about 10 bowls for the fundraiser.
Just $20 will feed a family of four for a month, said Anne Anderson, executive director of the food bank.
The food bank distributes food from 1:30 to 6 p.m. Thursdays. There is always a line out the door. The majority of the clients use the food bank for three months or less, Anderson said.
“Someone has car problems or an unexpected medical bill and needs some help for a few months,” she said.
Each month about 120 families cycle through the food bank. Most meals are going to children and senior citizens. The food bank also supplies Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to families. They’ve also started leaving bags of food at Lake Stevens High School for students who don’t have enough to eat at home. Volunteers also deliver food to low-income senior citizens.
Anderson said the organization also is currently working on establishing a satellite location.
“People have to stand outside for hours to get food,” she said. “We’re looking at temporary fixes until we can get a new building built.”
Volunteers work out of the basement of Ebenezer Lutheran Church. The organization bought some land next to the church to build a new food bank. That’s a big undertaking.
Last year’s Empty Bowls fundraiser brought in about $3,000.
“We want to do better this year,” Nunez said. “It’s a great event and a way to give back to the community.”
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to help? Empty Bowls fundraiser for the Lake Stevens Community Food Bank is scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Team Fitness, 1109 Frontier Circle East.