Piedmont Hosts 10th Annual Empty Bowls


On Oct. 30, Piedmont College hosted its 10th annual Empty Bowls event in the Swanson Center Atrium. Students worked together to help fight hunger in America, right in the comfort of their own college. Performances by Cantabile and the theatre improv group, Schticks and Giggles, were featured alongside the meals.

The main purpose of Empty Bowls is to raise money for local food banks. This year, all the proceeds are going to The Lord’s Help Soup Kitchen. Empty Bowls is so much more than collecting checks and tallying up totals. Empty Bowls creates and strengthens the community, supports local and Piedmont based artists, celebrates delicious food, appreciates beautiful pottery, and educates people about hunger and poverty.

During the event, guests were treated to a supper where, for a donation, they chose a custom made bowl and filled it with soup. They then sat down among the other guests, eat their soup, and learn a little about how their donation has helped to fill the truly empty bowls of people less fortunate. The bowls are theirs to keep and in some circles can become real collectors’ items.

According to Dana Velden, a contributing writer for thekitchn.com, Empty Bowls started back in the early 1990s when Lisa Blackburn and John Hartom decided to do something about the hunger and poverty in their area. John, a high-school ceramics teacher, challenged his students to create 120 bowls which they used at the first Empty Bowls luncheon held at the school. They decided to charge $5 per bowl to raise funds to fight hunger. The event was a success and right away people began duplicating it all over the country and, eventually, all over the world. Since then, Empty Bowls has been done in some parts of the world for over 25 years.

A lot of work went into creating this event. A list of the steps included finding a local food bank, finding a location, getting someone to make the bowls, having someone make the soup, getting out invitations, finding staff/volunteers, and having presentations on the educational aspect.

Normally, in other locations, in order to get a spot for the event, guests are asked to donate from $25 to $250. At Piedmont, this event was a steal, because participants got all you can eat soup for $15. Along with the donations from the students, other sponsors and donors included El Jinete Mexican Restaurant, Fenders Diner, Yonah Coffee and Chartwells.

Empty Bowls provided students, faculty and the surrounding community alike with full stomachs and more information about those whose bowls are more often empty than full. But, just because the event has ended, doesn’t mean your support has to. You can contact them at (404) 944-8140, or drop by at the address 236 Level Grove Road, Cornelia, GA, to get more information on how you can volunteer your time.