Empty Bowls – Creating holiday memories, one bowl at a time

Hunger. Shallow focus

The holidays are here, and for many of us, they are filled with pleasant thoughts of mealtimes shared with friends and family, large tables filled with turkey, ham, breads and a vast array of vegetables, casseroles, and desserts. For most of us, these are pleasant memories that date back to our childhood when we would gather with those we held dear to our hearts. Unfortunately, there are those in our very own community who will not have these fond childhood memories to carry with them throughout their lives because there are many families who may have no food at all on the holidays this year.

Our country is blessed with an abundance of food, and yet across the country, one out of every six people does not know where their next meal is coming from. This number is not only adult men and women, but children as well. In our country of plenty, one out of every six children will be facing an empty bowl when looking for their next meal. Families across the country and across our own community face difficult choices and often must sacrifice food to make sure their family has shelter or heat. As a result, they are far too often confronted by empty bowls at mealtime.

St. James United Methodist Church is working to assist some of the fine food pantries in our area that work diligently to see that food finds its way to those in need. On February 19, 2019, St. James will be sponsoring Bowling Green’s seventh annual Empty Bowls fundraiser, raising money to provide food to some of our area food pantries. Empty Bowls was an idea started by an art teacher in Michigan who wanted to get his students involved in making a difference in their community. His idea was to have his students and other volunteers make ceramic bowls that they would donate. Next, they asked area restaurants and residents to donate soup, bread, and a simple dessert. Finally, they had a fund raising dinner where the public was invited. For a small donation, each person got to select a bowl and was served a meal. The bowl was theirs to keep, and in addition to making a beautiful addition to their home, it served as a reminder that every day, there are those in our community facing empty bowls at mealtime. All money raised is donated to local charities providing food to those in need.

With the help of area potters, students, and volunteers, Bowling Green’s sixth Empty Bowls event earlier this year brought in over 900 bowls, and the event was a great success. The money from the bowls and from generous donations that were made was used to provide food to hundreds of families in our community who might otherwise have gone without. Unfortunately, there are still hundreds of people in need in our community, and so St. James is asking you to join in making Bowling Green’s sixth annual Empty Bowls event an even bigger success.

If you make pottery, or know someone who does, please consider making and donating some bowls for the event in February. Even one bowl can provide enough food to feed a family. And if you’ve never made pottery in your life, there are options available for you to contribute. You might consider taking a class from The Pots Place, a pottery instructor, such as Casey Bates, or taking a class at the Idea Lab in the public library. Taking a class with friends would give you a chance to spend more time together, learn a new craft, and make a difference in the lives of others. If a pottery class wouldn’t work for you (maybe you don’t have the time, or maybe you don’t like the mess) you might consider decorating a piece to donate by going to The Paint’n Place. Instead of meeting friends for lunch or dinner for the holidays, perhaps you could instead arrange to meet there, making your holiday gathering all the more special by helping those in need. And if none of these ideas work for you, there are other ways that you can help, whether volunteering in the Empty Bowls event, helping us spread the word, or simply attending and enjoying a meal on February 19.

The holidays are a wonderful time Please consider helping make the holidays wonderful for everyone in our community. Help with Empty Bowls if you can, and please make donations to our local food pantries, such as Manna Mart at HOTEL INC, or the food pantry provided by Life Care Ministry program of the University Church of Christ whenever you can. Our holidays are filled with stories of miracles that changed the world. This holiday, you can make a miracle, right here, in the lives of people in our community by turning an empty bowl into food for the hungry. It’s easy to say, “I can’t change the world…,” but working together we can end hunger – one bowl at a time.


If you would like more information about or are interested in participating in Empty Bowls, please visit the contact page at www.emptybowlsbg.com, or send email to garry.taylor@.