Empty Bowls fundraiser Oct. 13

Emma Labedis

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Attendees choose their bowl at the Empty Bowls event at the WIchita Falls Muesum of Art at MSU Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Lauren Roberts

Attendees choose their bowl at the Empty Bowls event at the WIchita Falls Muesum of Art at MSU Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Lauren Roberts

The Empty Bowls fundraiser will be held at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art on Oct. 13 to raise money to go toward feeding the community.

“It’s kind of grown into something much bigger than that,” said Steve Hilton, associate professor of art. “Here at Wichita Falls, just like in a lot of places, it’s become more of a social event that’s held in a venue. Here we do it at the museum.”

Attendees will turn in their tickets for a meal provided by different vendors such as Cotton Patch Cafe and Texas Roadhouse, and will be able to choose their favorite bowl.  The bowls are meant to remind them of the how many empty bowls there are in the world. Gallery pieces will be on display from Oct. 9-24 and available for purchase. The proceeds go to the food bank which distributes the money to the community.

“The reason why we do it here in Wichita Falls is all the money is donated to the food bank,” Hilton said. “The food bank disperses food throughout the community and is able to feed people more than just canned goods or processed canned goods, they’re actually able to do fruits and vegetables that they hadn’t been able to do before.”

Students from the school, as well as members from the community helped make the bowls that are available to those who attend the event. About 50 students, continuing education students and members from the community made some 1,000 bowls. 

“I feel like I should do it, like I should help out, and give back to the community,” Michelle Castro, fine arts senior, said. “I’m so fortunate and I think it’s important to help those who are not as fortunate. It is a lot of work but it’s rewarding, just knowing that everything that’s done is going for a good cause.”

The first year, at Empty Bowls the sale of tickets raised was $65,000. The next two years saw an increase of more than $80,000 that went to the food bank to fight hunger. Only $35,000 is gained from ticket sales which leaves the rest being donations and sponsorships.  

“It’s almost unheard of for a community this size to have an Empty Bowls event that raises that much money,” Hilton said. “In my experience, cities five times larger aren’t raising this amount of money. It’s a pretty amazing thing that Wichita Falls as a community steps up to feed the hungry here.”

Empty Bowls was started 25 years ago at a high school in Detroit to raise money for a food drive and to remind students of how many empty bowls there are in the world. Wichita Falls has adapted this and has made it into a community-wide event to help fight hunger in the town.

“It’s one thing for an adult to be hungry,” Hilton said. “But it’s a whole other thing for a kid, who’s supposed to be going to school, to be hungry.”

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