17th Annual Empty Bowl Project This Weekend

Potters, chefs, and musicians join forces to fight kid's hunger

Assorted bowls (courtesy Empty Bowl Project)
The Empty Bowl Project is one of my favorite charity events every year because it brings together such diverse community talents in the fight against kid's hunger. My collection of mis-matched empty bowls reminds me there are hungry kids in Austin and is one of my true kitchen treasures.

UPDATE: All Empty Bowl Project activities today will take place INSIDE Marchesa Hall & Theatre. The bowls are beautiful and the soups are great, so don't let a little winter weather slow you down. Buying a bowl of hot soup on a cold day to fight kid's hunger = a very good idea.

The party that began in the back of ClayWays Studio & Gallery 17 years ago has grown into a two-day event that provides a healthy chunk of funding for two very important beneficiaries: Kid's Cafe, an after-school feeding program administered by the Capital Area Food Bank that provides dinner to about 3,300 kids every month and the Meals for Kids program at Meals on Wheels & More that delivers about 5,000 meals a year to the children of low-income Austin families.

A potter at work (courtesy Empty Bowl Project)

Here's how it works: Through the year, independent pottery artisans and pottery studios create and decorate hundreds of bowls to donate to the project. Local restaurant chefs sign on to create signature soups, bakeries, cooking schools, and grocery stores agree to donate breads, desserts, and soft goods, plus recruiting volunteers. Bands step up to supply that Austintatious live music component and a local venue such as the Marchesa Hall & Theatre agrees to host the festivities on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Choosing just the right souvenir bowl (courtesy Empty Bowl Project)

Here's an idea of some of just some of the restaurants who'll be contributing to this year's stellar soup line-up: Cafe Josie, Wink, Magnolia Cafe, Hoover's Cooking, Corazon at Castle Hill, Fabi+Rosi, Sazon, East Side Cafe, the Soup Peddler, Thai Fresh, New India, Foreign & Domestic, and Mother's Cafe & Garden. Look for breads from Sweetish Hill, Upper Crust, Whole Foods, and Mandola's Italian Market.

For a $20 donation, party guests get to pick out a locally-crafted souvenir bowl and enjoy servings of comforting, delicious soup in a festive community atmosphere. Contributors who want first crack at the bowls as well as an opportunity to bid on a treasure trove of local pottery artworks and celebrity-signed bowls assembled for a silent auction have learned to buy $75 tickets to the Saturday night preview party, sponsored by Whole Foods Market. It's still possible to purchase preview party tickets online or at the door tonight. A minimum $20 donation gets you one bowl and plenty of soup Sunday.

Starting the tradition early (courtesy Empty Bowl Project)

Saturday, Nov. 23, 6-9pm

Empty Bowl Project Preview Party $75

Marchesa Hall & Theatre 6406 N. IH 35, #3100

Sunday, Nov. 24, 11am-3pm

Empty Bowl Project $20 at the door

Marchesa Hall & Theatre 6406 N. IH 35, #3100

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