Eighteen years strong, the Empty Bowls, Caring Hearts dinner returns to the Moose Hall on October 15 to support local organizations committed to addressing poverty and hunger in our community. Empty Bowls, Caring Hearts asks $30 and a non-perishable food item for a ticket to a simple, hearty meal home-made by local chefs, restaurants, and bakeries. In addition, one ticket allows your choice of handmade pottery bowls or woven placemats supplied generously by the Thunder Bay Potters’ Guild and local community quilters.

Locally-made pottery bowls and quilted placemats

Since Empty Bowls, Caring Hearts’ inception, the hardworking volunteer committee has raised over $217,000 for the Thunder Bay Food Bank and Shelter House. Funds are directed to food programs which directly support individuals and families in need. The committee’s efforts are also geared towards fostering a conscious culture and heightening public awareness about food scarcity, hunger, and poverty in our own backyard.

Funds raised through Empty Bowls are directed to programs that support individuals and families in need

This year, attendees will enjoy live entertainment by the Good News Jazz Band while participating in silent auctions, raffles, and learning about the organizations their ticket supports. Currently, all proceeds raised through Empty Bowls, Caring Hearts are donated to the Thunder Bay Food Bank and Shelter House—as good a reason as any to share the wealth during Thanksgiving season.

More on Empty Bowls, Caring Hearts

The Empty Bowls event dates back to Michigan in 1990 when a high school art teacher and his students were searching for a way to raise funds to support a local food drive. What evolved was the idea of a class project to make ceramic bowls for a fundraiser dinner. Since then, many variations of the original Empty Bowls event have taken flight annually in North America and around the world. To date, millions of dollars have been raised toward the common goal of combating hunger.

Empty Bowls features a simple meal of soup, bread, and a dessert

Thunder Bay’s first Empty Bowls dinner was held in 2000, spearheaded by the combined efforts of well-known Thunder Bay potters, Alan Moon and Fritz Lehmberg together with Lakehead Unitarian Fellowship member, Pyteke Blaauw. This successful annual dinner event has grown over the years and has evolved to include information displays by partner organizations, a silent celebrity bowls auction, various raffles, and live entertainment. It is the combined spirit and commitment of caring community volunteers that make this inspirational event possible and the success it is today.

Food scarcity means not just a scarcity of sustenance and nourishment, but a scarcity of the life affirming joys that good food provides. Empty Bowls is a reminder to never take food for granted, but to celebrate and share the gifts we have with one another.