Burnaby Empty Bowls

Nosh for a Cause




The Empty Bowls Project was launched in 1999 by Burnaby’s Food First Committee, a coalition of social service agencies and volunteers, to raise awareness of the existence of hunger and poverty in Burnaby.  The Empty Bowls committee consists of community members and representatives from Burnaby School District, City of Burnaby, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Pear Tree Restaurant, Scotia Bank, and South Burnaby Neighbourhood House.

The Empty Bowls project, with support from local artists, teachers, community organizations, restaurants, businesses and individuals, hosts a biennial fundraising Gala.  The funds raised from this gala support local programs for children, youth, and families in Burnaby that:

  • provide nutritious food
  • build skills that encourage healthy lifestyles


Thirteen years ago, Burnaby’s Food First Committee, a coalition of service agencies and community members, met to respond to a growing need to nourish hungry children and families in our community.   Burnaby Food First still meets to address food issues in Burnaby, however the Burnaby Empty Bowls Committee became a sub-committee of Burnaby Food First to focus specifically on the fundraising gala and raising money for food programs in Burnaby.

Food security work takes time and community engagement.  To better define Community Food Security, it is best to think of it as a continuum of three stages:  Individual, Community, Society, and Government.  Where a group chooses to focus its attention will depend on the strengths and creativity of its members.

The Empty Bowls fundraiser raises money to help support Burnaby programs that nourish people and teach health-eating skills.  Programs offered include:   cooking programs for children, where they chop, stir, and taste a healthy meal; breakfast and homework clubs to have a positive start and end to the school day; an organic produce program for low-income pregnant women, to help them have a healthy baby; and weekly cooking and daily snack programs for youth to learn about nutritious food choices, food safety, and cultural origins of food.

If you have a passion for working on issues related to food security, please join the Burnaby Food First Committee.  For more information, go to http://BurnabyFoodFirst.blogspot.ca.