Empty Bowls

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This Saturday, November 17, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. the public will be able to shop for hand crafted bowls made by area artists. There is free admission to the event and free soup with bowl purchase. Bowl prices range from $10 and the soup is provided from local chefs/restaurants. The event takes place at the Charles Wright Academy, 7723 Chambers Creek Road West Tacoma, WA 98467 in the Lower School Commons. No rsvp is required.

Jeff Klein, development director for the Emergency Food Network, explained what Empty Bowls is, “Empty Bowls is an annual community event that blends hunger relief, art, and soup. Local potters, wood carvers, weavers, and glass blowers donate 1,200 bowls to be sold at the event. Attendees then have the opportunity to enjoy a free bowl of soup from Pacific Grill, The Swiss, Infinite Soups, Alina’s Soups, Engine House 9, Chambers Bay, and Adriatic Grill.” When asked how long Empty Bowls had been around, Jeff replied, “Our community started Empty Bowls roughly 15 years ago. Many communities in the United States put on some variation of the event and call it “Empty Bowls.”

Jeff commented on the Empty Bowls event, “I think it’s a great opportunity for folks to help us raise money for our mission to provide a reliable food supply so that no person in Pierce County goes hungry. It’s open to anyone, it’s free, and it’s informal. The intention around this event has always been for it to be a way that anyone can participate in the fight against food insecurity in a fun way. Gathering for a good cause around a bowl of soup gives everyone a good feeling.

Emergency Food Network provides more than 14 million pounds annually to 67 food banks, meal sites, and shelters in Pierce County. This year, our community will see more than 1.3 million total visits to area food programs. Our efforts will provide 15.5 million meals to help fight food insecurity. For every $1.55 that we spend at the Emergency Food Network, 9 meals go into the food system. We hope that the money raised at Empty Bowls will provide more than 150,000 meals.”

When asked the best thing about the Empty Bowls event, Jeff replied, “I like how it showcases local artists and brings out hundreds of people who look forward to this event every year. They line up 50 to 100 deep before the doors open.”

Jeff revealed something many people may not know about Empty Bowls, “Retha Hayward has been on the committee to make this event happen for more than a decade. She runs the Manitou Art Center and knows most of the potters in our region. She spends months poking and prodding artists in the community to donate bowls, and probably half of what’s sold; approximately 600 to 700 bowls are glazed and fired in her kiln. It’s incredible; the amount of work she puts in to make this happen.”

Jeff discussed how Empty Bowls is unique compared to other charity events, “It just has a different feel. People are shopping for the best bowls they can find, either for holiday gifts or for their own cupboards and end tables. Then everyone sits around socializing over a bowl of soup. It just has a good feeling.”

When asked who he recommended attend the Empty Bowls event, Jeff responded, “Anyone with a charitable spirit who likes good art, good soup, and who likes to shop early for the holidays. It’s really nice to give your friends and family members a beautiful piece with a note on it that says, “I bought this for you, and the money that I spent went to feed hungry people in Pierce County.”

For more information about the Empty Bowls event, please visit: http://www.efoodnet.org/ai1ec_event/empty-bowls/?instance_id=87


By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com

3 thoughts on “Empty Bowls”

  1. Those numbers are incredible. So I’m assuming that’s unquiet for WA state. Just think what the number are for the U.S only let alone around the world. I can see where people like Retha and others have such a passion for helping others. And bless them for the help. Although I’m unable to attend this event. Maybe I can make a donation. If $1.55 will help feed nine people then every little bit counts.

  2. Carly, really I had no idea the full impact here regarding hunger and feeding those in need. Certinly I’ll find time to attend this event. And walk away with a bowl or two. I’ve always been inspired by art so this should be fun. Thanks. Nikkei

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