By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Food Bank taking design applications for 2021 Empty Bowl T-shirts
Empty Bowl
GMFB announced this week that the search for this year’s Empty Bowl T-shirt design has begun, and they have enlisted the help of elementary school students throughout the region to make a mark in the fight against hunger.

Hunger affects more than a million Georgians on a yearly basis, including thousands of children right here in our state.

Georgia Mountain Food Bank, or GMFB, has dedicated itself to helping eradicate food scarcity in its five-county service area, which includes Dawson, Forsyth, Hall, Lumpkin and Union counties. A huge part of that effort is GMFB’s annual Empty Bowl luncheon, which funds hundreds of thousands of meals here in north Georgia for children and grown-ups alike.

GMFB announced last week that the search for this year’s Empty Bowl T-shirt design has begun, and they have enlisted the help of elementary school students throughout the region to make a mark in the fight against hunger. Competition flyers have been sent to every school district within GMFB’s five-county coverage area, with one winner to be selected as the official design for Empty Bowl 2021.

“Food insecurity is a serious issue within the communities we serve. And it is heartbreaking to see what hunger can do to a child in all facets of their lives — including in the classroom, where hunger makes it harder to pay attention and keep up with classmates,” GMFB Executive Director Kay Blackstock said. “That’s why it is important for all children to know the seriousness of food insecurity, including what they can do to recognize it and help in the fight for hunger. It is also important for those facing hunger to know that they are not alone and that someone is here to help. That is why GMFB here, to provide relief for those in need.”

More than 54 million people across our nation experienced food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 18 million children. And Georgia is by no means immune to those realities, where — even prior to COVID-19 — 1,318,500 people, including 405,308 children, struggled with hunger daily during 2019.

“That is one of the reasons why GMFB maintains a great working relationship with schools throughout north Georgia,” Blackstock said, “a connection that helps students to take an active role in solving hunger issues.”

GMFB will accept T-shirt designs between now and May 14. The winning T-shirt designer will be recognized at this year’s Empty Bowl Lunch on Sept. 21 and will receive a $50 Visa gift card. 

There is a limit of one design per entry, and all designs must be wholly original and not contain any copyrighted material and each entry must reference the theme Empty Bowl for the year, “Growing the Love.”

“These T-shirts are always an eye-grabber and play a key role in our yearly Empty Bowl event,” Blackstock added. “That is why we are encouraging every elementary school in the service area to take part in this contest.”

GMFB provided 55 million pounds of food to those in need during 2020, which includes 2,539,534 meals donated by GMFB’s retail partners. And the 2020 Empty Bowl luncheon — which was forced to take place virtually due to the global pandemic — raised enough money to help provide more than 833,000 meals to those in need throughout Hall, Lumpkin, Union, Dawson and Forsyth counties. 

Empty Bowl T-shirt designs may be sent digitally to All email entries should use the subject line “T-shirt Design Contest.”

Designs may also be mailed Georgia Mountain Food Bank, 1642 Calvary Industrial Drive, SW, Gainesville, GA 30507. 

Each entry must include artist name, address, telephone number and age.

Georgia Mountain Food Bank, an affiliate of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, collects surplus food and grocery products for distribution to nonprofit partner agencies serving the hungry in the Georgia Mountain region. Located in Gainesville, GMFB collaborates with ACFB to provide food to nonprofits with hunger relief programs in Dawson, Forsyth, Hall, Lumpkin and Union counties. These programs provide direct assistance to families and individuals who are in need of food assistance due to job loss or low income. For more information about the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, visit