It all began with a Michigan high school’s ceramics instructor hoping to teach his students about hunger in their own community by having them craft bowls before serving them soup and sending them each home with an empty bowl to contemplate. This thoughtful lesson grew into The Empty Bowls Project, a global movement with events in hundreds of cities, including Dripping Springs.
The local event, initiated in 1997, by Bridget and Bill Hauser of Sunset Canyon Pottery, takes place November 5, at Dripping Springs Ranch Park. This year, area potters have crafted and donated more than 1,300 bowls to be filled with soup prepared by almost 30 local restaurants, including Homespun and Natkhat Flavors in Dripping Springs. You don’t need a ticket. You just show up, select a bowl for $25, and choose your soup.
The annual event provides about 60 percent of local charity Helping Hands’ operating budget, funding its food pantry located at Dripping Springs Methodist Church, plus additional social services. According to Helping Hands’ Carrie Gregory, who co-chairs the event, the need has doubled in recent years.
“We are seeing more people who are struggling. The cost of everything is going up, but their salary or government assistance is diminishing. People get to the point where they can’t make ends meet,” Gregory says.
Kelly Emmert, owner of The Art Garage in Dripping Springs who’s been participating in Empty Bowls for two decades, has facilitated the crafting and donation of 100 bowls this year, including those painted by local Girl Scout troops. “It is a community coming together at its very best,” she says.
“It’s a nice way to link people to what a truly simple meal can mean and just how something small can make a big difference,” says Angie White, of The Barn in Gruene, which donated more than 50 bowls this year.