Every day, an estimated 923 million people in the world go hungry, the Bread for the World Institute reports.

In the United States, 11.7 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make financial ends meet. That means one household in every 10 in this country is living with hunger.

On Palm Sunday, April 5, hundreds of area people will come to the Center for the Arts on the campus of Luther College from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. to take part in the fourth annual Empty Bowls Project, that raises thousands of dollars each year to help feed hungry people in this area and around the world.

Area potters are now creating and donating approximately 1,250 handcrafted ceramic bowls for the Empty Bowls event. The bowls will be used April 5 to serve a simple meal of soup and bread, which will be donated by local restaurants, businesses and individuals.

Empty Bowls participants will come to the Center for Arts on High Street, make a donation of $20, select one of the handcrafted bowls, choose their meal from an assortment of soups and breads, and keep their bowl to remind them there will always be hungry people - with empty bowls - around the world.

Last year, the local Empty Bowls project raised $16,000 which was distributed to those in need, both locally and globally. Donations to the 2009 Empty Bowls event will be divided among area food pantries and world hunger assistance through Lutheran World Relief. Because of current economic conditions in this country and worldwide, the need for donations to food programs this year is especially great.

In addition to donations from Empty Bowls participants, supplemental funds will be provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Depot Outlet.

Because parking space is limited near the Center for the Arts on the Luther College campus, Empty Bowls organizers encourage people to car pool to campus with friends to attend the April 5 event.

If you are interested in volunteering to work for the Empty Bowls project, contact Lori Lechtenberg at lori.lechtenberg@gmail.com.

If you are unable to attend the April 5 event and would like to donate to the Empty Bowls project, please send donations to Sue Halverson, Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101. Checks should be made out to Northeast Iowa Community Action.