Empty Bowls

I have wanted to take part in the Empty Bowls event, hosted the last five years by Phoenix Fired Art, and yet every fall, it has slipped by me. I was determined not to miss this charitable event this time. Greg and I purchased our empty bowls over the weekend, after studying a fine selection of handmade ceramic containers made by local artists. Today we joined hundreds of others in filling our bowls with the soup of our choice. 

Empty Bowls is sponsored by Heather Grills, and her pottery business, Phoenix Fired Art. Artists gather at the downtown location during the year to create hundreds of unique bowls. Beginning in October, these bowls can be purchased for a minimum price of $25, while bowls sold on the day of the event sell for a minimum of $15. 

Today people gathered at lunch and dinner times to fill their bowls with savory soup, provided by local restaurants. The money raised goes to selected local agencies that assist in alleviating hunger. 

Heather says, “I practice creative altruism. It is important to give back to a community, and this event gives back in a way that fosters creativity. ” 

This years recipients include:

Watered Gardens, a Joplin organization that feeds people daily and provides housing and work opportunities. 

The Salvation Army, who provides Jasper County low income families in crises, and the homeless, with more than 42,000 meals a year and 2000 food baskets. 

Crossline Ministries, providers of an emergency food pantry and a Protein Plus Program that helps families in medical crisis. 

Area Agency on Aging Meals on Wheels, which delivers 20,000 meals a month to home bound  seniors in Jasper, Newton and McDonald Counties. 

The Webb City Farmers Market, who is part of the Empty Bowls project for the first time, will use funds to create a voucher program for WIC (Women & Children) recipients who will receive $20 per week at the market to purchase fresh fruits, veggies, meats, dairy and eggs, AND they will partner with Feeding the Heart Food Pantry in Carterville by providing fresh produce for distribution. 

I was thrilled to be a part of this amazing event this year. From among the many wonderful choices offered, I selected the vegetable soup. It was a simple, filling meal that was good for me…and did good in the community. I am grateful for the vision of Heather Grills, for the talents of so many artists, for the restaurants who donated soup and bread, and for the volunteers who showed up today to serve and clean up. 

Any left over soup was donated to Watered Gardens and the Salvation Army. 

These bowls are intended to be used beyond today. Heather’s desire is for the bowl to be a reminder that somewhere, someone is hungry. We can all do our part to fight hunger. I will cherish my beautifully crafted bowl. And I will remember…and let love flow in response.