Soup was on the menu – and nothing but soup – as the Oxford/Lafayette/University community came together to provide food for the needy at the annual Empty Bowls lunch and fundraiser yesterday at the Oxford Conference Center.
Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger. It began as a school project in Michigan. The first event was held when a high school teacher created an opportunity for his students to give back to the community by using their art as serving pieces at a charity event. After almost 30 years, the Empty Bowls concept has grown so that hundreds of communities around the world now host annual Empty Bowls events to help support their local food pantries.
In Oxford, Empty Bowls benefits The Pantry, located on Molly Barr Road, which provides 40,000 meals to local residents every year. Members of churches, civic groups and individuals operate The Pantry all year long, donating their time, expertise and supplies to help others for no compensation.
For a donation of $20, guests at Empty Bowls received a handcrafted ceramic bowl of their choice, a delicious bowl of soup, warm bread, and a bottle of water at the lunch.
The bowls were made by the University of Mississippi’s student artists, the Mud Daubers, and other local artists. These artists donate hundreds of bowls for this cause every year. The bowls were showcased on a table where attendees picked their favorite bowl and then filled it at the soup area.
“I love this event because I know the good that The Pantry brings to our community,” said Alison Jackson, Oxford resident and Empty Bowls attendee. “There comes a time in life when we all need a little help, and I’m proud to say that our town has a place like The Pantry, where people can get what they need to sustain themselves and their families without having to pay or feel embarrassed when they can’t pay.”
This year’s event featured 25 soups donated by local restaurants, catering companies, schools and groups. The menu featured soups ranging from classics such as Chicken Noodle from Ole Venice Pizza Co. and City Grocery to more adventurous dishes like the vegan Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut and Curry.
“Empty Bowls brings together the entire community and reminds me of everything that is good in this town – good food, good people and a great cause,” said Hailey Rogers, an Oxford resident and Empty Bowls attendee. “There really isn’t any reason not to come support if you can.”
This year’s event featured the following restaurants and soups:
Lenora’s – Potato Leek
McEwen’s – Black Bean and Chorizo Chili
Newk’s – Mississippi Black Eyed Pea Soup
No Time 2 Cook – Beef and Vegetable Soup
Old Venice Pizza Co. – Chicken Noodle
Proud Larry’s –Chicken Florentine
McAlister’s Deli – Parmesan Kale and Turkey Sausage
Ajax – Shrimp Bisque
Country Club Of Oxford – Low Country Chowder
Grit/A&N Catering – Minestrone
My Michelle’s – Collards, Sweet Potato And Catfish
Oby’s – Broccoli and Cheese
Stella – Chicken Parmesan
City Grocery Group – Chicken Noodle
Boure’ –Shrimp Etouffee
Saint Leo – Chick Pea Tomato Stew
Southern Stove And Craft – Potato And Ham
Volta – Soul Soup
Taylor Grocery – Jambalaya And Loaded Potato Soup
Oxford Schools – Vegetable
Camp Lake Stephens – Broccoli And Cheese
Rafters – Gumbo
Tallahatchie Gourmet – Chicken Tortilla
Ravine – Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut And Curry
Party Waiting to Happen – House Special
For more information on Empty Bowls and how to get involved next year, visit their Facebook page.
Amy Goodin is a writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at argoodin12