By Austin Eller Anchor/Reporter (AccessWDUN)

Georgia Mountain Food Bank is now accepting applications for this year’s Empty Bowl t-shirt design from elementary school students in Dawson, Forsyth, Hall, Lumpkin and Union counties.

According to a press release from the food bank, the Empty Bowl luncheon is an annual event that funds hundreds of thousands of meals for those in North Georgia facing hunger.

The Empty Bowl t-shirt design contest is a part of the Empty Bowl luncheon. Kay Blackstock, executive director of Georgia Mountain Food Bank, said the t-shirt design contest first launched during the 2020 Empty Bowl luncheon.

“We have a panel of the Empty Bowl committee that selects the design, and then that design is our Empty Bowl 2021 t-shirt,” Blackstock said. “Last year it was so much fun, we had about 45 entries last year, some really cute designs.”

All entries must reference this year’s Empty Bowl theme, “Growing the love.” One entry is allowed per student, and all designs must be original, according to Blackstock.

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

According to the press release from Georgia Mountain Food Bank, more than 54 million people across the United States experienced food insecurity in 2020, including potentially 18 million children. Blackstock said it is important for children to learn about food insecurity at their young age.

“Food insecurity is a serious issue within the communities we serve,” Blackstock said. “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.”

Georgia Mountain Food Bank will accept the designs until May 14, with the winning designer being recognized at the Empty Bowl luncheon on Sept. 21. The winner will also receive a $50 gift card.

Entries can be submitted digitally by email to with the subject line “T-shirt Design Contest.” For physical submission, they can be mailed to Georgia Mountain Food Bank, 1642 Calvary Industrial Drive, SW, Gainesville, Georgia 30507.

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

Elementary school students interested in entering can view this flyer for more details and for a template for their submission.