Empty Bowls Project Bridges Hunger Awareness with Art Appreciation

The Enumclaw community turned out Friday evening to enjoy a friendly meal with neighbors, but more importantly to reflect on and support efforts to meet local hunger needs.

The numbers say much more than any individual or advocate could about the need that currently exists in the local community for food:

In 2011, there were 7,559 families served by both the Kiwanis and Plateau Outreach Ministries food banks combined. Break that apart into single individuals and the number grows to 21,477 people who received food from the food banks last year. 

On the other hand, that need was met by 232,38 tons of donated food and 8,671 volunteer hours last year.

That says something about the heart of the Plateau community, which was on full display Friday evening at Enumclaw High School during this year's first Empty Bowls event in Enumclaw.

Organizer Diane Anderson said when word of Empty Bowls first got to the community, she was contacted by numerous organizations wanting to help. There is a full list of all contributors at the bottom of this story. 

At just barely past 4 p.m., Patch stopped by the event and we'd say there were probably already at least 40 people who were enjoying a simple meal of soup, bread and cookies after they'd perused the assortment of handmade ceramic bowls that were donated by a variety of people (see below) and chose one to take home as a symbol of all the empty bowls and hungry people in the world. 

Empty Bowls, as described at www.emptybowlswa.com, is an international grass roots effort to fight hunger -- both to raise awareness of the issue at all levels and to raise money to support the local Kiwanis and POM food banks. 

It drew representatives of other community organizations like Enumclaw Boy Scouts Troop 422 who were volunteering at the event and Len and Sheri Bundy, from WonGeneration. Len said they support several ministries who run food programs to feed the hungry. And an event like Empty Bowls was a great way to bring other groups together under a common concern.

"There's such a wide range of age groups involved," said Len. "This event kind of shrinks the community into a family."

Art Appreciation

While there was a serious undertone to the occasion, participants were also encouraged to appreciate the artistic vision of all the donors who created handmade bowls for them to take home.

As Enumclaw Mayor Liz Reynolds -- who spearheaded this local Empty Bowls event -- stayed busy at the potter's wheel, and the Bundys scoured for a set of bowls they might use for communion bowls, others leisurely perused the array of bowls supplied by everyone from students at Green River Community College, Arts Alive! to the Enumclaw Crystal Quilters Club to Enumclaw Middle School and High School students (full list of bowl contributors at the end).

When Patch spoke with volunteer Mary Campbell, she reported, "people are very happy with the bowls they got."

We picked up a beautiful piece by Nathalie Weyer. What about you? Did you go? Whose artwork did you take home with you?

Gift Donors:

, BRC Gear, Clay Art Center, Tracy Holyan, Bill Marcum, Terry & Lisa Parker, Arame Bailey, , Phil Hanson, , Dan Mock, 

Bowl Contributors:

  • Liz Reynolds, Enumclaw Mayor
  • Paul Metivier, GRCC Pottery Instructor
  • Ed Brannan, GRCC Pottery Instructor
  • GRCC Pottery Students: Jennifer Beltrami, Lela Brugger, Melissa Byrne, Ryan Bryne, Tanya Cohen, Alyssa Harris, Susan Johnson, Clay Johnston, Robin Liss, Ruby Phan, Richard Martin, Vic Rivet, James Mitchel, Wade Pose, Ted Stockmen, Laurie Rose, Lorne Shao, Amanda G. Skipworth
  • Arts Alive!
  • Enumclaw Crystal Quilters Club
  • On the Pond Pottery
  • Enumclaw Middle School students
  • Enumclaw High School AP Art and Advanced Art students
  • Elizabeth Hendricks
  • Lorrie Maras
  • Lynn Milholm
  • Shelley Pritchard
  • Cathy Matson
  • Molly Rard
  • Nathalie Weyer
  • Pat Thweatt
  • Robyn Winkleman
  • Arts Alive! Youth class students, with Lisa Stewart

Food Donors for the Soup Meal:

Soups: Cornerstone Cafe, Cynthia Layer, , , ,


Cookies: and


Paper goods:

April Chan March 04, 2012 at 07:34 AM
Hi John Anderson - Thanks for adding your photos from Empty Bowls! You captured the vivid colors of these pieces much better than I did!


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