EDWARDS — The sixth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser returns to the Vail Valley on Aug. 12. Guests are encouraged to take part in a simple meal of soup, bread and dessert contributed by local restaurants in exchange for a cash donation of $20.
Those who join are provided with a bowl to take home as a reminder of all the empty bowls throughout the United States and the world. The money raised is donated to the Vail Valley Salvation Army Food Pantry in an effort toward ending hunger and food deficiency locally. According to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States, one out of eight Americans struggle with food inadequacy every day, which the fundraiser is helping to alleviate.
In anticipation of the event, potters and other craftspeople, educators and locals have been hard at work making the handcrafted ceramic bowls that are the cornerstone of the event. A “bowl-a-thon” took place earlier this month at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. Many of the bowls that will be given away on Aug. 12 were made at the bowl-a-thon.
‘Empty Bowls’ concept
But first, some background on the Empty Bowls event. While in Taos, New Mexico, local resident Diana Mathias observed the same fundraiser, which raised a lot of money for its local food bank. Mathias loved the sense of community and felt it was a great event that needed to be brought to the Vail Valley.
“Vail needs that same support to boost and replenish the food bank,” Mathias said. “The concept started on the East Coast, but that is all it was, a concept. I called them and they just said go for it, no trademark, just that the event be called ‘Empty Bowls’ so the idea could continue to spread.”
Willow Murphy, who runs the Pottery Studio at CMC, met Diana Mathias around four years ago during a ceramics class where Mathias was creating bowls for the Empty Bowls project.
“What we do to help the fundraiser is gather a bunch of potters and helpers who then complete approximately 200 bowls in one day then subsequently glaze them,” Murphy said. “It is a collaborative effort between the CMC teachers, students and community members.”
The event is being conducted as an entirely local event with local donors and sponsors and all the proceeds remaining in the Vail Valley. Every item — the bowls, the food, the graphic design, the television, newspaper and radio ads, and the location — is donated, which means every penny goes toward the valley’s local food pantry run by the Vail Valley Salvation Army.
For more information and to purchase tickets in advance, call Tsu Wolin-Brown, of the Vail Valley Salvation Army, at 970-748-0704.