1,000 handmade bowls to help end hunger

Photo courtesy of MANNA FoodBank
Photo courtesy of MANNA FoodBank

“Over 1,000 bowls have been donated for this event,” says Becky Upham, an organizer behind Asheville’s Empty Bowls event and representative of WNC nonprofit organization MANNA FoodBank.

Empty Bowls is an international movement to end hunger and food insecurity, but the charity operates at a local level. Organizers will hold the annual Asheville fundraiser to benefit MANNA FoodBank on Monday, Sept. 15, with this year marking MANNA’s 13th year of sponsoring the event.

Part of the genius of the Empty Bowls movement is that it draws support from the community in several different ways. It all starts when crafters work with interested locals to create a large quantity of bowls for use at a later fundraising event. At the event, patrons dine on a basic meal provided by local restaurants and give a monetary donation in exchange for their empty bowl.

The commemorative bowl, subsequent to the event, serves as a very literal reminder of the many empty bowls that remain across the globe. Additional bowls may be purchased at the event at market value.

“Even though Empty Bowls may not have originated in Asheville, it seems like it should have,” remarks Upham. “We all come together for a common purpose: a hunger-free Western North Carolina.”

This year’s fundraiser is divided into two separate events — a lunch seating and a dinner seating — both on Monday, Sept. 15. A meal at either seating costs $30, and the ticket price includes a bowl to take home.

The 11 a.m.-1:30  p.m. lunch event will feature a live performance by world-music trio River Guerguerian, Billy Cardine and Bill Bares as well as classical guitar by Brad Earnhardt  at Doubletree presented by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore on Hendersonville Road. Dinner will be served 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Hilton Asheville-Biltmore Park on Town Square Boulevard with live musical accompaniment by a Sound Education jazz trio comprised of Ryan Kijanka, Franklin Keel and Gabrielle Tee.

One glance at the laundry list of participating restaurants indicates an outpouring of support from Asheville’s culinary community. Food donors for the event include: Annie’s Breads, Biltmore, Biscuit Head, Brixx, Carmel’s, Chestnut, Corner Kitchen, Dining Innovations, Deerfield’s, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Geraldine’s Bakery, Givens Estates, Harrah’s, Mountain City Coffee Roasters, PF Chang’s, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Strada, Roux, True Confections, Tupelo Honey Café, Well- Bread Bakery and 12 Bones.

According to Upham, Empty Bowls founders Lisa Blackburn and John Hartom live in WNC now, and have been “huge supporters” of the Asheville movement.

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