Feeding Communities with Empty Bowls

February 29, 2016 - By: Sarah Hovis

 #FirstWorldProblems. This hashtag usually accompanies a post about someone having ‘nothing’ in their full-stocked fridge to eat. Sadly, the reality is hunger isn’t just a third world problem and that’s what
Empty Bowls wants people to remember. The idea for Empty Bowls was sparked 25 years ago when
art teacher John Hartom tasked his high school ceramics class to help with a food drive in their community. Each student made a bowl, invited the faculty to a soup lunch, and requested donations. At the luncheon, Hartom and his wife Lisa Blackburn, also an art educator, spoke about hunger and encouraged each person to take home their empty bowl as a reminder that many in their community went hungry every day. This simple act of enjoying soup has since morphed into a fundraising event
sponsored by schools, civic organizations, and individuals in nearly every state. Groups hosting use the Empty Bowls name, educate the attendees on the issue of hunger, and donate the money to a food bank, soup kitchen, or shelter. On Friday, March 4
Detroit will host their Empty Bowls Event at the
historic Eastern Market. That
evening, bowls signed by celebrities like best-selling author
Mitch Albom, actress
Kristen Bell, and funnyman
Tim Allen will be auctioned off with proceeds benefitting
Cass Community Social Services. Then on Sunday, March 6, a more family-friendly event will take place.
Hartom sums up Empty Bowls this way: “We didn’t invent bowls; we didn’t invent soup; we didn’t invent any of this. We just put things together in a new way, like artists always do.” Check out upcoming Empty Bowls events in
North Texas,
Kokomo, IN,
Anchorage, AK, and
Sacramento, Calif. Tell us in the comments what you think of the Empty Bowls concept. Photo via-
The Times