The line starts forming 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 child at the Washington State Fair. Once selections are made and paid for, with all proceeds going to Emergency Food Network (EFN), attendees make their way to eat free soup, donated by Viva, Pacific Grill, The Swiss, Adriatic Grill, Infinite Soups, X-Group Restaurants, Alina Soups, Puget Sound Family Health and Chambers Bay.
It’s an annual tradition enjoyed by more than 500 people each year. More than 1,500 bowls are purchased for the home or 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 22, 2014 at Charles Wright Academy from 1:00pm-3:30pm. Admission is FREE. Bowl prices start at $10 and go up from there.
Empty Bowls began as a grassroots project for local artists and community members to work together to assist people suffering from hunger. The event now spans to twelve countries and many states across the U.S., generating millions of dollars for various hunger relief agencies. For the last 15 years, EFN has hosted Empty Bowls in Pierce County, highlighting works from talented veteran artists and new local talent. In 2013, EFN raised over $30,000 from Empty Bowls. This is the equivalent of 180,000 meals for food-insecure Pierce County residents.
In 2013, EFN distributed 15.6 million pounds of food to 63 area food banks, meal sites, and shelters. EFN made it possible for our partner food programs to accommodate 1,404,755 total visits in Pierce County. Since 2008, the demand for emergency food has increased 69% in our community. To assist in meeting this need, EFN relies on events like Empty Bowls.
The continued success of Empty Bowls is due to the overwhelming community support from artist who donate the bowls, volunteers who set up and help run the event, local restaurants that donate soup, and the 500-plus community members who attend the event. “Empty Bowls provides all the lonely bowls I make throughout the year a wonderful home,” says Jenifer Davis, a local potter who throws bowls every year for the event. “I love that I can be part of this wonderful event.”