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Fill empty bowls, alleviate hunger on Sept. 15

The annual Empty Bowls fundraiser, this year on Sunday, Sept. 15, on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, is a chance to emjoy homemade soup, get a nice bowl, donate to the food-bank effort - and to experience hunger (standing in line is part of the experience; besides you get to socialize too). (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

The annual Empty Bowls fundraiser, this year on Sunday, Sept. 15, on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, is a chance to emjoy homemade soup, get a nice bowl, donate to the food-bank effort - and to experience hunger (standing in line is part of the experience; besides you get to socialize too). (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

On Sunday, the courthouse plaza will be filled with people and bowls handcrafted by local artisans that will be filled with soup prepared by local chefs, all in the name of alleviating hunger, for the 22nd annual Empty Bowls event.

Being a part of Empty Bowls, an event that raises money for local food banks, results in the good feeling that comes with helping people who need food, organizer Dr. Sandra Rogers said.

“It’s such a great event that pretty much everything is volunteered,” Rogers said, adding that between the chefs and their soups, the potters and their bowls, all those who volunteer to work the event, the stores that provide gift certificates for the silent auction and the participants, everyone is helping each other. “That’s what’s really great about it.”

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People look for the perfect bowl to have their soup in during the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

The soup list is pretty different than last year’s event, she said. This year, the soups include Chilled Tomato Bisque with crème Fraiche from Chef Joseph Wohl of Meals on Wheels; Avocado Smoked Corn Chowder and Smoked Jalapeño Beef Stew from Chef Emily Christensen of This Dude’s Food; Organic Vegan Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili (Gluten Free) from Debbie Maranville and Culinary Team Goods from Garden Catering & Events; Blackened Corn with Smokey Pork from Prescott Brewing Company; Five Mushroom Bisque with Crispy Corn and Micro Arugula from Chef Ryan Peters of Farm Provisions; Chicken Azteca from Chef Jeff McReynolds of Premier Catering & Events; Jalapeño Popper soup from Chef Torrey Springer of Peavine Coffee House; Butternut Squash Bisque with Candied Pecans from Chef Matthew Crawford of Murphy’s; Smoked Bratwurst & Gouda soup from Chef Junior Ortiz of the Raven Café; New England Clam Chowder and Texas Chili from Chef Peter Padilla of the Hassayampa Inn; Southwestern Wonton soup from Barry Barbe of El Gato Azul; and Avgolemono from Chef Jesus Mendoza of Marino’s Mob Burger.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and for a donation of $20, participants can choose a handcrafted bowl and two servings of soup. They can also keep the bowl as a reminder that they helped alleviate local hunger.

“We just want to try to make a little bit more of a difference as far as money we’re able to give out to the food bank,” Rogers said as to why the price is higher this year. “The money that we’re giving to the food bank, they turn around and spend it on food and the price of food is higher.”

Last year, Empty Bowls brought in a little more than $14,000 for local food banks, she said. The best year the event has seen earned close to $17,000, and this year it would be great to match that or do better, she said.

Standing in line is also part of the experience. While there are always some people who don’t enjoy that aspect, they can listen to the music of Greg & the Gringos, who will be performing during the event or talk to the neighbors they’ve made in line, Roger said.

“For the most part, we’re very fortunate that we can go home and open our refrigerators and eat whatever we want basically,” she said. “But people who need the food bank don’t always have that luxury.”

By Jason Wheeler, follow him on Twitter @PrescottWheels, reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037.

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