The Open Door has been expanded beyond the 2009 event! In 2010, in addition to my donation of 100+ bowls, I am very excited that other potters and students potters in the Midland community donated bowls too!
Please note that
100% of the money collected is donated to The Open Door to help fund the free meals that they serve every day to those in need in the Midland community. The Open Door serves over 40,000 free meals per year with no questions asked, and operates solely on donations from individuals, churches and civic groups. A statement on their website really says succinctly what their mission is: "Serving the least, the last and the lost."

What is "Empty Bowls?"
Empty Bowls (a project of The Imagine/Render Group) is an international effort to fight hunger. Empty Bowls began as a pilot project in the fall of 1990. It was imagined as a one-time event, but the power and success of that first luncheon lived on. Due to the tremendous success of these events and the work of literally thousands of participants, Empty Bowls events occur throughout the year, around the country and internationally, raising millions of dollars to fight hunger.
The basic premise is simple: guests are served soup in exchange for a cash donation to fight hunger. Each participant gets to choose a handmade bowl to take home with them (all bowls are made by artists or students and donated for the event). They are asked to keep their bowl as a reminder of the meal's purpose. Every time they take the bowl from their cupboard, they will be reminded that someone's bowl is always empty and that on this one occasion they helped to alleviate hunger and can choose to do so again at any time.
"There is a story about a man who left this earth and was taken on a tour of the inner realms. He was shown a room where he saw a large group of hungry people trying to eat dinner, but because the spoons that they were trying to eat with were longer than their arms, they remained frustrated. "This," his guide told him, "is hell."
"That's terrible!" exclaimed the man; "Please show me heaven!" "Very well," agreed the guide, and on they went. When they opened heaven's door, the man was perplexed to see what looked very much like the same scene: there was a group of people with spoons longer than their arms. As he looked more closely, however, he saw happy faces and full tummies, for there was one important difference: the people in heaven had learned to feed each other."
Why "Empty Bowls?"
When I was an art educator here in Michigan, I was privileged to participate one of the first Empty Bowls events sponsored by the MAEA (roughly 20 years ago already!). I will never forget the impact that evening of fellowship had on me and now that I have my own pottery studio, one of the first things that I wanted to do was to sponsor an event myself. The Open Door was the organization that I wanted to contribute to because of how it served one member of my own family when she was lost to us, emotionally and mentally. I am hoping to help sponsor at least one annual Empty Bowls event each year. The first one in 2009 was our launching point, and with 100 bowls, and one church sponsored soup luncheon, we raised $5200.00 for the Open Door. At that time I envisioned future events that would include other areas potters and pottery students and am delighted that for 2010, this dream will become a reality.
At right, bowls in the studio - works in progress.

Below right are finished bowls, awaiting the Empty Bowls supper.

Directly below are photos of Girl Scout Troop 332 working on decorating bowls for the 2010 Empty Bowls event.
Empty Bowls Fundraiser

to benefit
The Open Door
of Midland, Michigan

Click here to view photos from the 2009 Empty Bowls meal, which was hosted by the United Methodist Church through the generosity of volunteers.