Empty Bowls Weekend to Feature Local Potters, Soup, and Hunger Relief

The line starts some years an hour before the doors open. That’s when the semi-mad dash begins for the “best” bowls. Preference, of course, is relative. One person might grab a bowl donated by Throwing Mud Gallery, and another person chooses a bowl made and donated by a high school student in an advanced ceramics class. Once selections are made and paid for, with all proceeds going to Emergency Food Network, attendees make their way to the free soup, donated by Pacific Grill, The Swiss, Adriatic Grill, Infinite Soups, Engine House 9, Alina Soups, and Chambers Bay.

It’s an annual ritual enjoyed by more than 500 people each year. During Empty Bowls, more than 1,200 bowls are purchased for the home and for holiday gifts, and more than 700 bowls of soup are consumed over 2.5 hours. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at Charles Wright Academy from 1:00pm-3:30pm. Admission is FREE. Bowl prices start at $10.

On the evening prior, Charles Wright Academy and Emergency Food Network will host the second annual Vessels Juried 3D Art Show and Silent Auction. This event features 15-20 pieces specially crafted to be judged and auctioned to guests. Tickets for the event are $25 and can be purchased by contacting vessels@efoodnet.org or calling 253-580-1040.

Both events fuse art and charity in a really unique way. Coco Roening, a member of Charles Wright Academy’s Class of 2013, made 100 bowls for the Saturday event. The school’s Advanced Pottery class is also participating in providing bowls for sale. Local potter Jenifer Davis throws bowls every year for the event. “Empty Bowls provides all the lonely bowls I make throughout the year a wonderful home,” says Davis.  “I love that I can be part of this wonderful event.”

Melanie Harding is a community member who counts herself among big fans of the event. “Some people start their holiday shopping with the shopping mall craziness of “Black Friday” — I start mine at Empty Bowls. I get to shop unique, handcrafted items while supporting a great cause. When I give the gift, I include a card for the Emergency Food Network and a little note that tells the recipient that their gift also helped to feed a hungry neighbor in need. To me, they are gifts that capture the spirit of the season.”

EFN distributes more than 14 million pounds of food annually to 67 area food banks, meal sites, and shelters. Pierce County food programs will receive more than 1.3 million visits in 2012, roughly 50% more than in 2008. Each visit costs EFN about $1.55, and clients leave a food bank with enough food for an average of 9 meals.

The two events combined will raise over $30,000 for hunger relief in the county. “We will be able to provide food for more than 17,000 meals with the funds that we raise,” says EFN Executive Director Helen McGovern.

That will fill some bowls and plates for many Pierce County Residents.

Community member quotes about Empty Bowls:

As both a soup enthusiast and someone with a keen eye for design I love this event. My wife dragged me to it last year and I was amazed by the hand crafted quality that went into both the soups and the bowls. I cannot wait to go this year. A totally unique event that supports the local artists, showcases local chefs in our community and provides for the less fortunate. – Mick Wilcox

Many beautiful handcrafted bowls to choose from and tasty soup! Prices are affordable, it benefits a worthy cause, and it’s a fun way to get your holiday shopping done. Plus, food tastes better in a bowl. –Emily Garofolo

Good bowls, good soup, good cause! It’s an absolute winning recipe. – Barbara Becker Nelson

I only have one empty bowl but want to make this an annual event. –Katherine Rode

For more information, visit www.efoodnet.org and click on the events page or donate button, or call 253-584-1040, or email info@efoodnet.org.