Empty Bowls, an international initiative to fight hunger, will be back in Opelika on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Denson Drive Recreation Center. Since 2014 the event has rotated back and forth between the Opelika Pottery Studio and the Auburn Ceramics Studio, raising money for the food bank of East Alabama.
Local potters have been creating hundreds of bowls to be sold at the event. Guests may purchase an event ticket for $10, which includes a handcrafted bowl, a simple meal of soup and bread and a raffle ticket for numerous prizes. Pottery demos are scheduled throughout the day, and entertainment will be provided by AU Capella. There will also be a silent auction featuring pottery and a food and dining experience for 6 people.
All of the bowls are handcrafted and come in numerous shapes, sizes and colors. Because the bowls are handmade each one is entirely unique. Many of the bowls are made by potters with years of experience.
“Their bowls are gorgeous,” said Kitty Greene, Empty Bowls publicity chair. “We have potters with pottery in presidents’ houses. They’re that good.”
Because the potters donate the clay, the glazes and their time, 100% of the proceeds from this event goes to the Food Bank of East Alabama. Last time the event was held in Opelika $18,000 was raised. This year they have raised their goal to $20,000. The local food bank is able to turn each donated dollar into seven meals, so they money raised through this event goes a long way to provide nourishment to people in the Opelika and Auburn communities.
According to feedingamerica.org, many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and need to rely on their local food banks and other hunger relief organizations for support. Households with children are more likely to experience food insecurity. Currently, more than 11 million children live in food-insecure households.
According to Sherrie Spain, Opelika pottery director, the bowls are meant to be kept as a reminder of those who don’t have a full bowl.
“There are so many empty bowls, and ours are never empty,” said Spain. “It’s important to have that reminder.”
In addition to the Rocky Brook Potters, I Love Juice Bar, In the Kitchen with Chef Jim, Bow & Arrow, Zazu Gastropub, Cafe 123, Chicken Salad Chick, Niffers on the Tracks, Southern Hospitality/Martha Hicks Catering, Jim Bob’s Chicken Fingers and Panera Bread will be providing the meal of soup and bread.
Advance tickets are available at Denson Drive Recreation Center Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Tickets will also be sold at the door of the event. Those who purchase their tickets and bowls in advance do not need to bring their bowl back with them to the event in order to enjoy their soup.
For more information, call Sherie Spain at the Denson Recreation Center at 334-705-5558 or see the Empty Bowls Facebook group. The center is located at 1102 Denson Drive in Opelika.