Fredrik Finney-Jordet/The Broadside
Empty Bowls, a fundraiser organized by NeighborImpact and catered by Central Oregon Community College’s culinary program, will be done digitally this year. Empty Bowls is an internationally recognized event meant to raise awareness of worldwide hunger, according to NeighborImpact. The event provides support for food banks, soup kitchens, and other organizations. On a local level, funds raised go to NeighborImpact and the Emergency Food Assistance program.
In an average year, Empty Bowls is held in COCC’s Coats Campus Center, said Wayne Yeatman, the director of the Cascades Culinary Institute, in an interview. Attendees choose a bowl made by a local artist, fill it with soup, and watch a presentation by NeighborImpact. Due to the COVID-19, however, this year’s event will look much different.
“Instead of making eighty gallons of four types of soup and hauling it up to the Campus Center,” said Yeatman, The Culinary Institute packaged dry soup with instructions and ingredients for participants to make at home.
For the price of an Empty Bowls ticket, each participant will receive a gift basket with a bowl, and everything needed to make the soup, as well as gift certificates for restaurants and bakeries, said Sandy Visnack, NeighborImpact’s coordinator for Empty Bowls, in an interview.
“[This] is a very special event for us,” said Visnack. “People look forward to Empty Bowls every year. The setting, the bowls, the music, and the spirit at the event makes it special. It is a great welcoming of the change of seasons.”
At first, Visnack said there were worries about hosting the event virtually. But, after sending out an email to attendees, the response was positive.
“We had dozens of people emailing us saying; although they were sad not to attend the event in person, they were excited that we were putting on the event and very excited about the way we are implementing it.”
According to Visnack, “our goals include producing a quality event, recognizing the potters and sponsors, engaging volunteers, and raising much-needed money for NeighborImpact and our Food Bank program.”
For the Culinary Institute, Yeatman said, Empty Bowls teaches students production, how to make various soups, and how to provide service.
“We hope it raises a lot of money for NeighborImpact as they do great work and serve many of our students.”
The first soup packets will be delivered to homes on November 9.
For more information regarding Empty Bowls, one can visit Neighbor Impact’s webpage.