Barnabas Bowls: A Report to the Community

By Karen Schaffnera and Donna Sweet

The bowls at the heart of Barnabas Center’s annual Empty Bowls luncheon are symbolic, but the cost and effort involved in creating those bowls is very real. And as the event has grown in the past 10 years, so has the number of bowls needed to support the event.

This year, local artists and other volunteers have painted more than 1,000 bowls for the sold-out event on November 27. That is a Herculean effort for a community this size. It is only possible because of the number of organizations that gather their members and employees to help get it done.

Many of these groups have been painting bowls for years, and every year, the quality of their work has improved. This year, on our 10th anniversary, they have risen to new heights with gorgeous designs, colors, and uniqueness.

You will find some of their work on the Barnabas Center Empty Bowls online auction Marketplace ( The Marketplace is open throughout the month of November, with perfect timing for holiday gift seekers. We will also have bowls for sale Dec. 6 and 7 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Barnabas Center headquarters,1303 Jasmine St., Fernandina Beach.

The Marketplace has come to play a vital role in the Empty Bowls initiative, helping cover the cost of the bowls themselves while also spotlighting the talent of our bowl painters and other local artists who have donated their work to support the initiative.

We owe a debt of gratitude to contributing artists, including Trevor Dunn, Alice Henry, Stephen Heywood, Billie McCray, Michael Fay, Robin Bruck-Tanner, Sarah McCullough, Barbara Koontz, Lis Krawiecki, Jacqueline Stouse and Stephen Weston. Major thanks are also to Amelia Makery for their tireless support and Lynn Tennille Photography for photographing the bowls.

To the individuals, organizations and neighborhood groups that did the heavy lifting by painting those 1,000+ bowls, you are the reason the 700+ attendees at this year’s luncheon will be able to take home a beautifully painted reminder of the event.  Special thanks are extended to:

  • Amelia National
  • Amelia Park
  • Amelia Walk
  • JEA
  • Nelson & Associates Insurance
  • Newcomers Club
  • Osprey Village
  • Rayonier
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
  • Robyn Branch Design
  • Rotary Club Amelia Island Sunrise
  • St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
  • Story & Song Bookstore
  • Tipping the Scales group at BMC-N
  • Yulee High School (Bridge Club)
  • Barnabas Center West Nassau Advisory Council
  • Women of Nassau

Barnabas Center will host the 10th annual Empty Bowls event on November 27 at The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, to raise awareness and funds to combat hunger and crisis in Nassau County.