Hub City Empty Bowls, Filled Up for a Good Cause

By Steve Wong | September 01, 2014
Share to printerest Share to fb Share to twitter Share to mail Share to print
hub city empty bowls

When I reach in my kitchen cabinet for a bowl, I have to push aside the good china that my wife and I got when we were married. I’m looking for one of my Empty Bowls. Granted, the one of several I might choose could look like a four-year-old made it, but I’d rather eat my Cheerios out of a bowl that helped to make my community a better place, rather than something factory-made that Aunt Susan gave us as a wedding gift. 

For the past five years, Hub City Empty Bowls has raised money for the hungry in Spartanburg through making, filling and selling bowls of soup. This year’s event all started back in mid-June, on the first public bowl-making day. Volunteers with Carolina Clay Artists offered free clay and free instruction. A lot of families and would-be potters came looking for creative outlets. Some people learned quickly and made nice and many bowls; the professionals helped some people more than others. At the end of the day, Hub City Empty Bowls had another batch of bowls to paint, glaze, fire, and make ready for Soup Day.

In all, Empty Bowls sponsored five days of bowl-making in June, July and August at Chapman Cultural Center and the West Main Artists Co-op. The goal was make 1400 bowls, the same number as last year, which raised more than $20,000 for charity.

On Soup Day, people walk into the theater lobby to a sea of colorful bowls. They browse from table to table, gathering up their personal favorites, which might be primitive or cute because a child made it by hand, or sleek and smooth because a professional potter threw it on a wheel. Each bowl comes with a $15 donation, and gets filled with soup donated by local restaurants. Patrons get to eat and drink as much soup, bread and tea as they want, while listening to live music and enjoying the fellowship of like-minded people. Proceeds this year go to TOTAL Ministries, a local charity charged with the task of helping citizens who are going hungry.

hub city empty bowls
hub city empty bowls
hub city empty bowls
hub city empty bowls

As I eat soup and listen to music with my friends and family at Soup Day, I get this warm fuzzy feeling that something good will come out of my participation. I know that Hub City Empty Bowls is one of hundreds of Empty Bowls campaigns around the world. There’s no national or global administration coordinating the events. Empty Bowls is just a concept that has spread to meet the need. Each effort is the work of local potters, using their talents and time in a proven campaign to feed the hungry. I get that same warm fuzzy feeling whenever I reach into my kitchen cabinet.

Hub City Empty Bowls 2014 Soup Day, September 27, 11am-6pm
Chapman Cultural Center
200 East St. John Street, Spartanburg
$15 donation per bowl
Soup, bread, tea, live music, drum circle, silent auction

Article from Edible Upcountry at
Build your own subscription bundle.
Pick 3 regions for $60