I did not know. Until now. There is an international grassroots movement to fight hunger called The Empty Bowl Project. Adult potters from the community and students from local schools craft bowls hand-thrown on a potters wheel or more free-form by manipulating the clay in their hands. Restaurant owners prepare pots of soup. Community members are invited for a simple meal of soup and bread. Money raised supports hunger relief organizations. Event attendees keep the bowls as a reminder of the empty bowls in the world. What a beneficial, impactful, symbolic event!
At the gymnasium door of the former Franklin Junior High School in Brainerd (Minnesota), which is now the Franklin Arts Center, each person purchased a ticket for $20.00 which allowed you to choose a bowl then have it filled with soup. So many tables laden with bowls... a reflection of the community's support of this project. So many colors and shapes to select from. I settled on one that had a wintery feel. Soup and winter... a perfect pairing.
There were four pots with a different kind of soup in each one. Standing in line, there was chatter about soup choices. "Lobster bisque," I kept hearing. But, when I saw the split pea soup, I knew that would be my choice. I remember that in my family of twelve children, we ate it a lot. It wasn't until I had a family of my own to care for, that I realized how little a pot of split pea soup cost to make and how far it stretched. Considering this was an event to bring to light the plight of hunger in our world, I shouldn't be eating lobster bisque. Thank you to the potters, chefs, and peripheral volunteers that made this event happen. The money raised will benefit Brainerd's Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen. Thank you to Lea Anderson, an art teacher at Forestview Middle School, who created my bowl and Valerie from the Merrifield Diner who prepared the flavorful split pea soup that filled my empty bowl. "As our bowls are filled, let us remember those that remain empty." (Empty Bowls Project)