As we move into the holiday season, I begin to reflect on all I have to be thankful for and consider how I can help those in my community who are less fortunate. If you’re also looking for a way to give back this holiday season, Austin Empty Bowl Project is a cause highly deserving of your support. Over the past 19 years, Austin Empty Bowl Project has raised over $900,000 to help feed hungry Central Texans. Now celebrating 20 years, the goal is the $1 million mark.
The family-friendly event will be held on Sunday, Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Central Texas Food Bank, located at 6500 Metropolis Dr. For a donation of $20, guests are invited to choose their favorite from over 4,000 handmade ceramic bowls donated by local artists, which are then filled with soup and bread from some of Austin’s best restaurants. When it’s time to leave, have your bowl wrapped up to take home as a reminder of those whose bowls are empty.
During the silent auction, guests can bid on bowls signed by musicians like Neko Case, Dixie Chicks, KD Lang and Shinyribs, as well as other celebrities. A drawing will be held to determine the winner of the 20th Anniversary custom quilt created by Nancy Elder, displaying a quote which embodies the spirit of the project and that of the holiday season:
“The miracle is this–the more we share, the more we have.”
Donations benefit Meals for Kids, part of Meals on Wheels Central Texas, and Kids Cafe, a program of Central Texas Food Bank that partners with after-school programs to provide students with a nurturing environment, nutritious meals and homework assistance.
History of Austin Empty Bowl Project
“Empty Bowls” originally started in 1990 in Michigan as a way for students to make a difference through their artwork and is now internationally recognized in the fight to end hunger, with several projects across the U.S. and Canada. Each city’s Empty Bowl Project is personalized by artists and art organizations at a community level.
In 1996, Kit Adams, owner of ClayWays Pottery Studio & Gallery, started Austin Empty Bowl Project. The event was held at ClayWays for 11 years until it outgrew the space. In 2007, Adams handed the project over to fellow potters and now co-directors, Kris Asthalter and Hester Weigand, who founded a 501(c)(3) and grew the organization into what it is today. In years past, the event was held at Mexican American Cultural Center and later moved to Marchesa Hall & Theatre.
New Location This Year
This is the first year Austin Empty Bowl Project event will be held at Central Texas Food Bank, and Asthalter couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities that come with the new venue.
Earlier this year, Central Texas Food Bank moved into a new 135,000-square-foot facility that includes a 4,000-square-foot commercial kitchen. “In the past we heated the soup on hot plates and now we have this huge kitchen at our disposal,” Asthalter shared. She hopes to continue holding the event at Central Texas Food Bank for many years to come.
Local Food, Local Music
Soup and bread, as well as appetizers, desserts and beverages, will be provided by more than 35 Austin restaurants, including Cafe Josie, Buenos Aires Cafe, Eastside Cafe, Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Sala & Betty, The Soup Peddler, Sweetish Hill Bakery, Thai Fresh and Wink. Among last year’s soup selections (many of which were vegan and/or gluten-free) were chicken tortilla, coconut, crab and corn chowder, cream of pumpkin, fire roasted artichoke tomato bisque, and French onion.
Two stages will feature live music performances by Adam Carroll, Chris Carroll, In the Pocket, The Numbers Band featuring Jimmy Fenno, Tom Meny, Jeff Plankenhorn, and Idgy Vaughn.
For more information about Austin Empty Bowl Project and volunteer opportunities visit this website.
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