Tickets have sold out for the 17th annual Empty Bowls Luncheon, but according to organizers, collecting the money is not the main goal of the event.

The Empty Bowls Luncheon is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19 at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City.

The event serves as a reminder of the hunger problem within the county, and funds raised support Hope Mission, Martha’s Cupboard and, new this year, Backpack Friends.

“The two organizations that have been supported (over the past 16 years) have been very appreciative of everything that has been done, but we reached out to other organizations that were serving the hungry and decided it would be good to share and let more recipients take advantage of funds that were flowing in to support hunger,” said Hope Mission board member Barbara Johnson, who is in charge of coordinating Empty Bowls.

During the luncheon, area restaurants serve different types of soup, while local artists provide creative and colorful ceramic bowls.

According to organizers, this year around 30 restaurants and 30 potters are participating, with more coming in.

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