The Daily Courier Logo
Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
7:56 PM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Filling empty bowls: Food bank fundraiser is Sunday

People looks for the perfect bowl to have their soup in during the 2011 Empty Bowls fundraiser on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza. (The Daily Courier, file photo)

People looks for the perfect bowl to have their soup in during the 2011 Empty Bowls fundraiser on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza. (The Daily Courier, file photo)

The Empty Bowls fundraiser to fill the shelves of local food banks will turn the courthouse plaza into a soup kitchen this Sunday. The 17th annual event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For $15, guests will select a soup bowl from an array of more than 800, created by local ceramists and wood turners, and then choose two helpings of gourmet soup prepared by 15 area restaurants and chefs.

The 15 gourmet soups - and the chefs who will serve them - are:

• Clam chowder, Peter Padilla, Black Canyon Grill at La Quinta

• Asparagus and prosciutto with parmesan crostini, Harley Guy, Black Hole Beer Co.

• Green chili pork stew, Travis Keith, Brick & Bones

• Farmer's Vegetable Minestrone, Molly Beverly, Crossroads Café at Prescott College

• Posole, Barry Barbe, El Gato Azul

• Southwest beef soup, Terri Matson, Fork in the Road

• Old-fashioned chicken noodle, Sam Hancock, Hassayampa Inn

• Gazpacho, Judy May, Iron Springs Café

• Chicken tortilla, Ryan Huff, Park Plaza Deli

• Drunken Mushroom soup, Scott DeJoseph, Premier Catering & Events

• Jalapeno beer cheese, Prescott Brewing Company

• Black bean soup, Jessica Mason, Prescott Station

• Tomato basil bisque, Spencer Bapst, Raven Café

•  Vegetable minestrone, Carol Baran, Slow Food of Prescott

• Tomato and bleu cheese bisque, Whole Foods Market.

Another specialty for guests will be the annual 12th century Scottish recipe for cockaleekie, prepared by event coordinator Chef Todd Bulock.

Those who want only the soup - 6 ounces in a Styrofoam bowl, plus a roll and water - may buy that for $5.

Wildflower Bread and Pangaea Bakery are providing the rolls, and Credit Union West is supplying the bottled water.

Many local merchants have donated gift cards to provide the other necessary incidentals. This year Re/Max Mountain Properties donated the use of its truck to pick up the 24 tables and 200 chairs donated by Smoki Museum.

Empty Bowls will also feature a silent auction and raffle for items including T-shirts and cookbooks of soup recipes attendees have been sampling for 15 years.

Proceeds from the event support the quad-city food banks. Last year, Empty Bowls organizers distributed $14,000 to Prescott Community Cupboard, Chino Valley Food Bank, Prescott Valley Food Bank, Yavapai County Food Bank and CCJ Open Door Pantry.

Many artisans have also donated specialty pieces for the silent auction, including Steve Appel, Newman Gallery, David McDonald, Mountain Artists Guild, Nancy Snow, Jordan Ford and John Finkey, to name a few. Traditionally, as many as 40 items are on display for bidding, such as large ceramic platters and bowls, sets of pottery mugs and plates, vases, jewelry, art pieces, large wooden bowls, trays and spoons and more.

Boy Scout Troop No. 10 will help set up the canopies, tables and chairs; Girl Scout Troop No. 1565 will wash the dusty ceramic bowls before people get their soup; and Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist youth members will hand out rolls and water, sell raffle tickets and escort any disabled people standing in line to the front of the line.

Ceramics Supply of Phoenix and Laguna Clay in California donated much of the clay. And close to 100 wood bowls come from the Prescott Area Wood Turners and 200 bowls from Yavapai College Ceramic and Art Department.

Each year Laura Bloomenstein, art director, opens the facilities for local potters who do not have their own studio and/or kiln to craft their bowls.

Empty Bowls began in 1990 as a project of Imagine/Render Group, a nonprofit organization established to create positive social change.

It is now a worldwide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and action on the complex issues of food security.

Prescott Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation have sponsored this community outreach event since 1997, when several members of the Prescott U.U. Fellowship attended an Empty Bowls luncheon in Phoenix. They came back and the congregation made soup in its own kitchens and handed it out to neighbors and friends after a service on hunger. The next year, Bobbie Root, a potter, asked her friends to make some bowls for selling. By the third year, local restaurants and merchants had heard about the event and wanted to donate. From that time, the event has taken place on the courthouse plaza.

"This event is organized at virtually no cost," said Eunice Ricklefs, event coordinator. "Every step of the way is provided by generous donations from the community - potters, wood turners, restaurants and local businesses, and staffed by adult and youth U.U. volunteers.

"I really don't know of another community event that brings out so many enthusiastic people who are willing to stand in line for 30 minutes or more to select a handcrafted bowl and eat soup. We usually have close to 1,000 people stop by during the two to three hours we serve. In some years we have even run out of bowls or soup. The camaraderie of the community in supporting our local food banks show Prescott at its finest."