By Lofton Wheeles
For the Opelika Observer
The city of Auburn will host its eight annual Empty Bowls event on March 27 at 5 p.m. at Kiesel Park.
Empty Bowls is an event held by the Dean Road Ceramics Studio and the Denson Drive Recreation Center. The event showcases hand-crafted bowls created by local people while the proceeds for the event go to the Food Bank of East Alabama.
Art Education Specialist for Auburn Parks and Recreation and Empty Bowls Event Coordinator Emillie Dombrowski discussed the origin of Empty Bowls and how it helps out communities.
“Empty Bowls came from a group of teachers and art students and local artists from an area in Michigan and it got started by the Imagine-Render Group in 1991,” she said. “It got started as a grass roots movement so they could find a way for them and their communities as artists to give money to the local food bank and since 1991, it has grown and grown and now it is this worldwide movement.
“The cool thing about it is that each community can make the program work for themselves as long as they provide handmade bowls and then provide a dinner or a soup and then donate that money to their local food bank. They can work around and change their event, but each community can make the event their own.”
Local restaurants across the Auburn-Opelika area are coming together to help the cause of Empty Bowls.
“We’re going to have soups [at the event] so we’re working with Niffer’s, Bow and Arrow, Acre, The Waverly Local and The Plaza and those companies are providing our soups for us and they’re going to be in to-go containers this time because of COVID,” Dombrowski said. “So [the participants] will select the bowls and then they’re going to select their take home soup and we’re also working with the Lee County Master Gardeners and they’ve created dry soups.”
The event will also include prizes to help with the donation to the food bank along with ticket purchases.
“We also have a large raffle table and so people will able to give more money to the Food Bank through purchasing tickets and trying to win [prizes],” Dombrowski said. “Now these raffle baskets are awesome they’re put together by the Universities Fighting World Hunger group and they are really spectacular.” Dombrowski said.
There are many rewarding parts about the Empty Bowls event, but according to Dombrowski, there are two that stick out the most.
“I think the best part about planning the event is when you finally get to the day of the event and you just see everyone enjoying it and you see everything working the way you planned and it really makes all the months that go into planning an event all worth it,” she said. “The other best part of this event is being able to hand a really nice check to the [Food Bank of East Alabama].”
With Empty Bowls, Dombrowski hopes that the community doesn’t look at the event as just a way to help the food bank, but also as a way to help out the Auburn-Opelika community.
“With COVID, the rise in people in our community that have food insecurities is higher than it’s been in a really long time, or ever,” she said. “I just want people to know that people in our community need help and this is a good way to help out. We still have some tickets left [for the event].”
Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased at either the Dean Road Ceramics Studio in Auburn or the Denson Drive Recreation Center in Opelika. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the Food Bank of East Alabama. The event will also follow CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and sanitation.
For more information regarding the event, please go to www.auburnal.org/parks or call Emillie Dombrowski at (334) 501-2944.