Hub City Empty Bowls

By Steve Wong | July 14, 2017
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Feeding Spartanburg’s Hungry One Pottery Bowl At A Time

Sometimes, what the food is served in is just as important as the food itself. Such is the case with pottery bowls made in Spartanburg’s annual Hub City Empty Bowls fundraising campaign to help feed the needy.

“Food is one of those basic elements needed to sustain life,” TOTAL Ministries Executive Director Traci Kennedy said. “Each year, about 4,500 families come to us for help. These are local people who are going through hard times, and that often means they don’t know where they're going to get their next meal.

Through the grace of God and Hub City Empty Bowls, we are able to help many of those people. Those  clay bowls that people make are the answer to many prayers.”

In 2009, Carolina Clay Artists, an Upstate-based group of potters, started Hub City Empty Bowls, a localized chapter of the international Empty Bowls initiative. To raise funds for a local charity that has a focus on feeding the needy, the Clay Artists hosts several bowl-making events where anyone can make a pottery bowl at absolutely no cost. The clay, facility, tools, and instruction are all provided. They are very family-friendly and creative events. Of course, some of the bowls are simple and primitive; others are works of art. All the bowls are kept to be finished: touched up, painted, glazed, and fired.

With thousands of finished bowls, Hub City Empty Bowls then hosts Soup Day, where dozens of local restaurants donate soup. The public is invited to see the bowls, make a $15 donation for every bowl taken, and then enjoy a simple meal of soup, bread, tea, live music, and fellowship in celebration of doing good in the community.

Last year, more 2,000 bowls were made and $33,000 were donated to TOTAL Ministries.

“It is an amazing process to see children and adults make these bowls,” Hub City Empty Bowls 2017 Chairman Bruce Bowyer said. “It is even more amazing to see their faces when they walk into the room full of colorful bowls of every shape and size imaginable. People spend hours searching for their favorites, and many people buy five or six bowls at a time. Personally, there is no better feeling than when I reach into my kitchen cabinet and pull out an Empty Bowl, knowing that some civic-minded person made it and because of it, someone else now has food to eat.”

There are three bowl-making events this year: Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. in Spartanburg Art Museum’s pottery studio at Chapman Cultural Center; Thursday, July 20, 5-8 p.m. at West Main Artists Co-Op, during ArtWalk; and Saturday, August 26, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. at Chapman Cultural Center. Soup Day will be Saturday, October 28, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Chapman Cultural Center.

For more information about Hub City Empty Bowls, please visit

Article from Edible Upcountry at
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