Empty Bowls Full Hearts
Fight hunger one bowl at a time is the motto for the annual Empty Bowls McKinney fundraiser spearheaded by St. Peter’s in McKinney. The event raised $62,000 last year for Community Lifeline Center, a non-profit that helps people in short-term crisis recover.
Months before the event, more than 50 artists work with volunteers in the community to create hundreds of handcrafted bowls of all shapes, sizes and artistry. During the event, local restaurants set up booths where they create and serve unique soups for tasting, said Jamie St. Clair, a parishioner of St. Peter’s who organizes the fundraiser. Last year more than 800 people participated.
The church began the fundraiser initially in 2012 with Easter baskets filled with food for families to have a holiday meal, but it eventually evolved into the Empty Bowls model. At first, an art teacher in Frisco had students make about 83 bowls, which raised about $4,500. Over the years, the popularity of the event skyrocketed as local artists came on board to help the creative process. Eventually, pottery equipment was brought into a space owned by the church for a St. Peter’s artist’s workshop. “We have a house beside our church, so we offered it to a group of potters,” St. Clair said. “They help us with the Empty Bowls ministry and the rent they pay goes straight to outreach.”
To increase proceeds, attendees can join the Collector’s Club, which for a more expensive ticket, gets them in early and provides them with more choices for picking out a bowl. Other big sponsors pay for advertising in the event such as Whole Foods and Blount Fine Foods.
Also, artists and celebrity guests aided by artists, make 20 designer bowls for auction. Last year the church’s rector, the Rev. Perry Mullins, made a bowl that was auctioned at the top celebrity price of $200. The bidding can get competitive for the artist’s beautiful bowls, St. Clair said. “There is a silent auction and people can bid using their phone,” she said. “Last year I got outbid by a couple who were in Mexico on a mission trip.”
This year, Mullins will defend his title as top bowl-er, however, Bishop George Sumner has agreed to toss his mitre into the ring for a shot at his bowl coming in at top bid.
The event is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m., May 3 at the McKinney Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $25 in advance, and $35 at the gate. For more information go to www.EmptyBowlsMcKinney.com.