Empty Bowl Project: One bowl of soup shared with family and friends can provide45 meals for the hunger striken
The holiday season is marked with ample opportunity to create valuable, thoughtful exchanges of time, money and humanity. Tomorrow marks the 15th annual Austin Empty Bowl Project, where the purchase of one serving of soup in a handcrafted ceramic bowl allows the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas to provide up to 45 meals for those in need.
Empty Bowls is a grassroots effort to fight hunger, initially created by the Imagine/RENDER Group in Michigan. Since the first Empty Bowl event in 1991, the project has seen international growth; any individual or group may organize an Empty Bowl event and design it around the needs of their specific community.
In Austin, 12 area schools have donated ceramic bowls created by art students, and over 30 restaurants will pitch in to provide a variety of soup to choose from. The proceeds of the day's event go to CAFB's Kids Cafe, an afterschool program that serves 400,000 healthy meals a year to hungry central Texas children. According to John Turner of CAFB, last year's event raised enough to cover an entire two months of Kids Cafe program costs.
Figures aside, this one-day, yearly event is a fantastic way to ignite the spirit of giving during the holiday season and bridge the gap between people who otherwise might not come in contact. "[Empty Bowls] is a wonderful example of many different groups working together, each doing a small part, to have a larger impact in their community," says Austin organizer Hester Weigland.
Together, participants sit to enjoy their meal, listen to live music and give thanks. For many, Empty Bowls has become a significant, charitable event held close to their hearts. "Every year, the same person drives up from the coast in the wee hours of Sunday morning to be first in line," says Turner. "Austin Empty Bowl has become one of her holiday traditions because she just loves the event so much."
The Austin event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at a new venue, the Marchesa Hall and Theatre, Lincoln Village, 6226 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin (just behind Highland Mall).