Tuesday, November 15, marks the return of Empty Bowls, the highly popular fundraiser for Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes hosted by Northwest College Associate Professor of Art Elaine DeBuhr and her students. The event runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at The Commons in downtown Powell.
The first-come, first-served meal features a choice of soup and a slice of bread in a hand-thrown bowl that diners choose and keep. Soup choices include vegetarian and gluten-free options. The cost is $10, and 100 percent of all proceeds are donated to PVLF. This is the eighth Empty Bowls hosted by DeBuhr and the previous seven have raised a total of $32,899 for the organization.
The ceramic bowls are created by DeBuhr and a group of students and alumni who volunteer their time to create 400-450 bowls to be used at the event. A variety of sizes, shapes, textures, and glazes will be available to choose from.
“This work is not part of a class,” said DeBuhr. “Everyone is wonderfully giving of their time and talent. The majority of the bowls are made by the Advanced Ceramics students, but my wheel throwing class is now learning how to throw and trim bowls, and they have expressed genuine interest to join in on the fun.”
Along with the time and labor of those creating the bowls, the NWC Art program provides the clay and glaze materials, and students volunteer to work the event. The soup and bread are provided at cost by Sodexo through the college’s dining services, with the NWC Student Senate supporting the cost of the soup.
“I always schedule it the week before Thanksgiving to highlight the spirit of giving as we head into the holiday season,” said DeBuhr. “It is a meaningful event that stretches beyond the holiday season too. Throughout the year, as people reach into their cupboards for their ‘Empty Bowls,’ they will be reminded that there is hunger in our community and of the ongoing important role of Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes.”
The PVLF was launched in the Powell community in 1986. Operated by dedicated volunteers, the organization hosts two annual food drives to help replenish the pantry shelves throughout the year. The U.S. Postal Service collects nonperishable donations in the spring, and a variety of groups help with the pre-Halloween drive; however, local donations are accepted year-round. The Empty Bowls event offers an additional opportunity for area residents to get involved and make a positive impact in the community.
“It is beyond heartwarming to witness the crowd that turns out for this event. It truly reflects the generous spirit of giving in this community, and it also means more beautiful handmade bowls are in everyone’s cupboards. It is a win-win event.”