Oxford fills ‘Empty Bowls’

By Kelsey Kimbler - For The Register-Herald

OXFORD – The Oxford Community Arts Center (OCAC) held the annual benefit soup luncheon known as “Empty Bowls” on Saturday, Nov. 12.

A Michigan art teacher looking for a way to get his students involved in a local food drive created this project in 1990. Since then, Empty Bowls has become an international event held in 20 different countries and raising millions of dollars toward hunger relief.

Oxford’s incarnation has raised over $68,000 for local efforts to alleviate hunger in the community. Since 2002, the amount raised per event has increased from $2,393 to $7,778 raised in 2015.

This luncheon “celebrates art and service.” A collaboration between Miami University and Talawanda High School ceramics students, Oxford area potters, and artists “young and old,” community members came together to paint bowls which were donated to this event.

Locals were asked to either volunteer to make soup, bread, desserts, work the day of event, or to attend the luncheon at a cost of $10 per bowl.

Attendees waited in a line that circled OCAC for their turn to pick their bowl and enjoy the soup made by the community.

Guests are able to “keep their bowls to use or display at home and to serve as a reminder that there are always empty bowls in the world.”

The day of the event, $7,000 was raised, but that does not include proceeds from the silent auction, ACE students who attend, nor children under age 10 who ate for free. The estimated final total was $7,500.

Not including young bowl and art makers, the volunteer count for 2016 was 233. This included people who worked during the luncheon, provided food, adults who made bowls, and those who helped publicize the event.

Estimated luncheon guests were 750 attendees.

Oxford’s Empty Bowls, is focused on raising hunger awareness, but there is also a focus on community. Empty Bowls seeks to “help make Oxford more inclusive and caring.”

To Oxford, Empty Bowls is not only about hunger awareness, although that topic is especially important, but community is at the root of the event as all proceeds go to the Oxford Community Choice Pantry.

Connie Malone, an organizer of the event thanked everyone involved.

“Our profound thanks go to everyone who helped make Oxford Empty Bowls possible; this includes those who made or decorated a bowl, joined us as a community sponsor, publicized the event, made or donated soup, bread or dessert, created or provided art, worked at the event, or attended as a luncheon guest,” Malone said. “It is our collective effort that makes Oxford Empty Bowls the beloved and joyful community event that it is and allows us to raise awareness of the issue of food insecurity while simultaneously raising funds for the Oxford Community Choice Pantry.”


By Kelsey Kimbler

For The Register-Herald