LAKEWOOD — The line starts forming an hour before the doors open. That’s when the semi-mad dash begins for the “best” bowls. Preference, of course, is relative. One person might grab a bowl donated by Open Arts Studio, and another person chooses a bowl made and donated by a child at the Washington State Fair. Once selections are made and paid for, with all proceeds going to Emergency Food Network (EFN), attendees make their way to eat free soup, donated by Pacific Grill, The Swiss, Adriatic Grill, Infinite Soups, AmeRAWcan Bistro, The French Hen, The Hub, Masa, Alina Soups, and Chambers Bay.
It’s an annual ritual enjoyed by more than 500 people each year. More than 1,200 bowls are purchased for the home or for holiday gifts, and more than 700 bowls of soup are consumed over 2.5 hours. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, November 23, 2013 at Charles Wright Academy from 1:00pm-3:30pm. Admission is FREE. Bowl prices start at $10 and go up from there.
This year’s Empty Bowls has an exciting new element, an Empty Bowls Cookbook. This cookbook contains more than 50 soup recipes from local restaurants, elected officials and Executive Directors of nonprofit organization from around Pierce County. The cookbook will be sold at Empty Bowls for $20 per book, with all proceeds going to EFN.
Empty Bowls began as a grassroots project for local artists and community members to work together to assist people suffering from hunger. The event now spans to twelve countries and many states across the U.S., generating millions of dollars for various hunger relief agencies. For the last 14 years, EFN has hosted Empty Bowls in Pierce County, highlighting works from talented veteran artists and new local talent. In 2012, EFN raised $28,000 from Empty Bowls, this is the equivalent of 148,965 meals for food-insecure Pierce County residents.
In 2012, EFN distributed 15.1 million pounds of food to 67 area food banks, meal sites, and shelters. EFN made it possible for our partner food programs to accommodate 1,381,602 total visits, providing 16.7 million meals to hungry people in Pierce County. Since 2008, the demand for emergency food has increased 67% in our community. To assist in meeting this need, EFN relies on events like Empty Bowls.
The continued success of Empty Bowls is due to the overwhelming community support from artist who donate the bowls, volunteers who set up and help run the event, local restaurants that donate soup, and the 500-plus community members who attend the event. “Empty Bowls provides all the lonely bowls I make throughout the year a wonderful home,” says Jenifer Davis, a local potter who throws bowls every year for the event. “I love that I can be part of this wonderful event.