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1:50 AM Tue, Sept. 25th

'Soup-er' event aims to fill food bank pantries

In this file photo, Yavapai College ceramic fire arts major Matthew Kaminski molds a bowl for a previous Empty Bowls event.  Every year, student and volunteer potters come together to fashion bowls to donate to the Empty Bowls event to help feed the hungry.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->(Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier)

In this file photo, Yavapai College ceramic fire arts major Matthew Kaminski molds a bowl for a previous Empty Bowls event. Every year, student and volunteer potters come together to fashion bowls to donate to the Empty Bowls event to help feed the hungry.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->(Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier)

Soup bowls will be filled with soup, and the courthouse plaza will be filled with people on Sunday, Sept. 13, in an effort to alleviate hunger for the 18th annual Empty Bowls event, sponsored by the Prescott Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and the Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Area restaurants and chefs will provide soup to fill bowls created by local ceramists and wood turners in support of quad-city food banks. The event also features a silent auction.

Empty Bowls 2015 Chairwoman Eunice Ricklefs said in a press release that Empty Bowls began in 1997 as a project after members of the Prescott Unitarian Universalist Fellowship attended an Empty Bowls luncheon in Phoenix.

"They came back and the congregation made soup in their own kitchens and handed it out to neighbors and friends after a service on hunger," Ricklefs said. "The next year, Bobbie Root, a potter, asked her friends to make some bowls for selling. By the third year, local restaurants and merchants heard about the event and wanted to donate."

For $15, event attendees will select from more than 800 soup bowls created by local ceramists and wood turners and enjoy two helpings of gourmet soup prepared by 15 local restaurants and chefs with local bakeries providing rolls and Credit Union West providing bottled water.

Local restaurants and chefs providing the soup include The Mine Café in Jerome, Randall's, Blackboard Café, Crossroad Café, Prescott Lobster & Seafood Co., Iron Springs Café, Whole Foods Market, El Gato Azul, Brick & Bones, Park Plaza Deli, Murphy's, Raven Café, Hassayampa Inn and The Local, the release stated.

Proceeds from the event will support quad-city food banks, Ricklefs said.

"Last year, we distributed $15,000 to Prescott Community Cupboard, Chino Valley Food Bank, Prescott Valley Food Bank, Yavapai County Food Bank and CCJ Open Door Pantry," Ricklefs said. "Of course, this success could not be accomplished without the generous donations of the artisans, chefs and local merchants."

Specialty items up for auction are from places such as Steve Appel's Bolt People, David McDonald, Prescott Area Woodturners, Fran Peterson, Nancy Koski and John Finkey. Usually about 40 items are on display, such as sets of wooden bowls, pottery mugs, vases, jewelry and art pieces. There are also raffle items, Ricklefs said.

The cost to stage the event is minimal because every phase is provided for by donations from the community, according to the press release.

"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," Ricklefs said. "We usually have close to 1,000 people stop by ... in some years we have even run out of bowls or soup."

The Empty Bowls event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, on courthouse plaza. The cost is $15 for a crafted bowl, soup, roll and bottled water or $10 for a Styrofoam bowl.

For more information, call Sandra Rogers at 928-771-0133.

- By Jason Wheeler. Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.