The first Empty Bowls Event to benefit the Open Door
has been expanded beyond the inaugural 2009 event! In
2010, in addition to my 2nd donation of 100+ bowls, I
was 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
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
Directly below are photos of
Girl Scout Troop 332 working
on decorating bowls for the
2010 Empty Bowls event.
Empty Bowls Fundraiser
The Open Door
of Midland, Michigan