Sales begin for annual Empty Bowls fundraiser to fight hunger

September 30 — A thousand pottery bowls made and painted by local artists are pre-sold at Joplin Greenhouse and The Coffee Shop for the ninth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser to fight hunger in the community. The event will take place on November 18.

More than 38 million Americans lived in households struggling with food insecurity or lack of access to an affordable nutritious diet in 2020 – a 9% increase from 2019, according to the Food Research and Action Center .

Empty Bowls is an international project that fights hunger by supporting food-related charities around the world.

Heather Grills, owner of Phoenix Fired Art studio, hosted Joplin’s first Empty Bowls fundraiser in 2012, but moved in 2018. After a one-year hiatus, Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission took over as new host. The Watered Gardens Food Program and Outreach Center serves approximately 50,000 meals per year.

“This is the third year that Watered Gardens has taken the lead in planning and organizing,” said Travis Hurley, director of advancement for Watered Gardens Ministries. “It’s about $ 2 per person for meals, so when you buy a bowl it’s like providing 15 meals for someone.”

All proceeds from Empty Bowls go to four local charities that feed the poor – Mission Joplin, We Care of the Four States, Hope Kitchen and Watered Gardens. The handcrafted bowls, each with their own design and colors, were created and donated by local artists. The handcrafted bowls are available for presale for a minimum donation of $ 30 per bowl at Joplin Greenhouse and The Coffee Shop, 2820 E. 32nd St. in Joplin, for the next three weeks.

The greenhouse is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Volunteers from area churches have also hand sewn bowls, which are on sale for $ 5. The last day of the presale is Saturday October 16.

“This is probably my favorite event that we do because of all the collaboration involved,” said Hurley. “You have restaurants that donate soup, potters that donate bowls, women’s groups that make cozys, and it’s not just Watered Gardens that gets the benefits. It’s nice to all feel in. the same boat. “

This is the second year that Joplin Greenhouse has helped sell bowls for fundraising. Curt Carr, owner of Joplin Greenhouse, kicked off the sale on September 24, so Watered Gardens doesn’t miss one of Greenhouse’s busiest auction weekends of the year, as people shop for items from ‘fall. Hurley said he sold around 70 bowls this weekend and sold more than 100 on Wednesday.

“I know all of the people at Watered Gardens and how passionate they are, and I really support what they do,” Carr said. “It gives them a place to settle down where they’re exposed to a lot of customers. It’s the first of the fall season, and we tend to have a lot of traffic. I didn’t want them to miss this. opportunity .”

The fundraiser was a huge success and continues to generate more revenue each year, evenly distributed among the participating charities. In 2020, Watered Gardens received $ 7,100 from Empty Bowls and $ 5,833 in 2019. Hurley said his goal this time was $ 8,000.

“We almost ran out of bowls last year,” said Hurley. “We had a take-out event, and we ended up asking some potters to bring in bowls at the last minute because we were about to go out. We thought it had gone so well we had to go there. ‘have again in the greenhouse. “

During the Empty Bowls event, over 20 restaurants will be offering soup. Anyone buying a bowl can stop by Joplin Empire Market, 931 E. Fourth St., from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on November 18 for a serving of soup. Bowls can still be purchased that day for a minimum donation of $ 25.

“Up front it’s $ 30 because there’s a much better selection now, so we’re encouraging people to come early,” said Hurley.

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