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'Empty Bowls' event raises awareness, funds to feed Utah's hungry

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Talk about food for thought.

Utahns broke bread, slurped soup and developed a greater appreciation of art and the issue of hunger in Utah during the Empty Bowls event Saturday afternoon at St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall.

The event is a partnership between Clay Arts Utah and Catholic Community Services of Utah. After enjoying a simple meal, participants were invited to purchase ceramic bowls handcrafted by Utah artisans.

Proceeds benefitted CCS's dining hall, which serves lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and Sunday dinner to help alleviate hunger in the Salt Lake area.

Empty Bowls also helps raise awareness of the people who come to the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall each day, says Dennis Kelsch, CCS's director of Basic Needs Services.

"We serve here, approximately 500 two times a day, for lunch and the evening meals. Feeding about 1,000 people that takes a fair amount of staff, utilities, the building and the stuff that goes into making that fly every day," Kelsch said.

One in six Utahns is at risk of missing a meal each day while 1 in 5 children are unsure where their next meal will come from, according to the Utah Food Bank.

Angie Schneider, co-chairwoman of Empty Bowls, said local potters donate their material and talents to the effort, producing 600-800 ceramic bowls over the year to support the event. Potters occasionally hold parties to produce the bowls, which are sold for $20 each and more for larger works.

Some of the potters partner with schools to teach their craft to children while supporting CCS.

"Empty Bowls is a grassroots, nationwide event that is organized by local potters in local communities," Schneider said. "All of the money stays in the local communities to help feed the hungry."

Making bowls is always a fun and creative process, Schneider said "but these are a little more meaningful. It's special for us. This is a really feel-good event for all of us. We're excited to participate in something potters are very passionate about. We're happy to do this every year."

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Marjorie Cortez

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