Tickets available now, proceeds benefit Food Bank of East Alabama


LEE COUNTY — Since the Empty Bowls event was first held in 2014 by the Opelika Rocky Brook Potters, nearly $100, 000 has been raised for the Food Bank of East Alabama to help feed those in need. This year’s event is scheduled for April 20 at the Denson Drive Recreation Center, and the Preview Party will be held April 13 at the ArtHaus. Tickets are currently available for both events.
“Ihe Preview Party is going to be an exciting event,” said Kitty Greene, chairman of the event. “John Emerald will be providing cocktails and appetizers will be served from restaurants. Music will be provided both by Preston Winkles, who will be playing the keyboard, and other musicians. Each person will receive a beautiful premium soup bowl. The silent auction will include pottery, artwork and 20 gift baskets crafted by Cathy Thomson.”
The Preview Party is scheduled April 13 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the ArtHaus, 500 N. Railroad Ave. in downtown Opelika. Tickets are $100 each and only a hundred tickets will be sold.
All proceeds from the Preview Party also go to the food bank. Tickets are available by calling (334) 821-9006 or going to, clicking on /Make a Difference/Donate Funds/Empty Bowls and then entering Preview Party below the payment info.
While tickets for the Empty Bowls event can be purchased ahead, they will also be available the day of the event on April 20 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Those attending will select a lovely handmade bowl and be served soups and bread in a disposable bowl. Tickets for this event are $15 per bowl. Tickets are available at the Denson Drive Recreation Center in Opelika, Jan Dempsey Recreation Center in Auburn and the Food Bank.
The Opelika and Auburn potters alternate hosting the Empty Bowls every other year. When the event was held by the Rocky Brook Potters in 2022, they raised $45,500 dollars for the food bank, which included funds from the Preview Party.
Sherie Spain is the founder of the local event. While she has retired as the director, she is still teaching pottery at the center and will be contributing to this year’s event.
Spain started the Empty Bowls project in 2014 after reading about the international project to fight hunger. The original Empty Bowls began in 1990 as a class project in Michigan when a high school made ceramic bowls and served soup to raise funds for a food drive. Those attending were allowed to keep the bowls. The idea spread worldwide, and each community holding an Empty Bowls event is independent.
“I contacted the food bank and they liked the idea,” Spain said. “I thought it would be good to get both pottery communities working together.” For Sherie’s work on the event, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller proclaimed a “Sherie Spain Day.”
“Working on the Empty Bowls project has been very rewarding,” she said. “Martha Henk at the food bank has been so wonderful. We are fortunate to have her in our lives. It is amazing to me how many people have volunteered to help. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the potters. It is like one big family.”
Richarde Talbot is the new director and leading the Empty Bowls event with a board of volunteers.
“Many people work behind the scenes each year to make the Empty Bowls event successful,” said Talbot. “It is gratifying to work with so many generous people in the community on a project that helps provide food for vulnerable people in our area.”
Those attending either event will select a handmade bowl, which they can keep as a reminder of the less fortunate in the community.