This past Sunday, November 19 (2017), was the Austin Empty Bowl Project, which is an annual event that always takes place on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. If you’ve never heard of it, it is an amazing and well-organized event supported by a ton of volunteers and members of the community. The proceeds go towards feeding children in need.
Leading up to the event, people make and donate bowls that are available for purchase at the event for $20. Included in the $20 fee is soup and bread donated by local restaurants and hotels. My husband and I attended this year and I also painted a ceramic bowl a few weeks ago to donate. After selecting a bowl, having it washed by volunteers, and eating a delicious bowl of Caldo de Pollo from Guerro’s and some sour dough bread, as we had our bowls wrapped to take home, we were told that each of our bowl fees would feed 20 meals to children in need.
The bowls range from professional pottery to all kinds of fun, brightly colored ceramics painted by kids and adults from all over Austin. When you enter the room with the bowls, you can see hundreds of these bowls to choose from. As people pick up and take bowls over to be washed, volunteers are unloading even more bowls! My husband and I picked out two beautiful bowls, but I took photos of several more.
Once we picked out our bowls, we were given a ticket for soup and paid for our bowls, got them washed and picked out soup and bread. My bowl is a beautiful soup mug with a pretty light eggshell glaze. My husband picked out (or did I pick it out for him?) a larger bowl that is suitable as a serving dish. There is a textured pattern around the sides comprised of primitive looking fish.
The centerpieces capture the spirit of the event perfectly, as it takes place at the Central Food Bank of Texas, which is a massive space that covers 21 counties in central Texas.
As we left the dining area, we were treated to the opportunity to bid on some amazing items in the silent auction. There are bowls donated by celebrities and professional potters, among other items up for auction. These were some of my favorites. Judging by the auction sheet bids, these were bringing in some big donations!
The Saturday evening prior to the Sunday event is a Preview Party. For $75 attendees sample soup and bread along with appetizers, and can bid on items in the silent auction. This year, I donated one each of my two cookbooks, “The Soup Pot” and “One Dish Wonders” to help raise money for this amazing cause.
If you’re not in Austin, be sure to search for an Empty Bowl Project near you! You can donate a bowl, volunteer, or just attend the event!