“Asheville has one of the largest Empty Bowl events in the nation and, considering the size of Asheville, this makes quite a statement about its importance in the community,” says Alisa Hixson, Director of Corporate Engagement and Signature Events for MANNA. “The pottery donated is among the highest quality of any event in the nation. These are not seconds; they are tangible commitments of the artists here to helping solve the problem of hunger.”
Empty Bowls: Who Makes It Happen
This year marks the 16th year of MANNA’s Empty Bowls fundraiser – a fundraiser that brings the issue of hunger in our region right to the forefront. Local potters and artisans work throughout the year to create the 1,000 bowls that are the feature of the event, and area restaurants donate the incredible soups that are the heart.
"From the first year we were asked even before Corner Kitchen came along, we felt that Empty Bowls was both useful and fun,” said Joe Scully, founder and chef of Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village and Chestnut in downtown Asheville. “The combination of soups and bowls and potters and cooks is really a match made in heaven...kind of like MANNA."
The connection to the issue of hunger isn’t lost on the many people that come together to make Empty Bowls a yearly success. In fact, many bowl makers use Empty Bowls as an opportunity to connect to their immediate community, and to make an impact in the larger WNC community.
“I love making bowls with my studio mates, Tisha and Paul, throughout the year. It reinforces our friendship as friends and fellow potters,” says Brian McCarthy, owner of Highwater Clays and Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts. “Giving the bowls to MANNA is icing on the cake. It puts us in touch with the community beyond the walls of our studio.”
Empty Bowls happens once a year, but thousands of families across Western North Carolina struggle every day to get the food they need. Last year, in response to an ongoing increase in the need for emergency food support, MANNA distributed a record 16.4 million pounds of food, which equates to 13.6 million meals. In WNC, one in six people and one in four children is experiencing hunger.
“It’s satisfying to know each bowl we make can help provide meals for fellow community members,” says McCarthy.
With each ticket sold, MANNA can provide the food for 140 meals. Tickets are available for purchase at MANNAEvents.org, or by calling MANNA at (828) 299-FOOD (3663).
Empty Bowls is made possible by the following sponsors:
Baked Pie Company
DoubleTree by Hilton
Ivory Road Café
Mountain City Coffee Roasters
Red Stag Grill
Well Bread Bakery