The University of Maine at Presque’s Ceramics I & II class invites County residents to attend the area’s second Empty Bowls fundraiser, which gives participants the opportunity to purchase unique homemade bowls and enjoy cups of soup, all to benefit Martha and Mary’s Soup Kitchen. The Empty Bowls fundraiser will be held at the William V. Haskell Community Center (Presque Isle Recreation Center) on Tuesday, April 28 from 6-8 p.m. Doors will open and bowls will officially go on sale at 6 p.m.
Empty Bowls is the only fundraiser of its kind for Northern Maine. The money raised from the sale of the bowls will be donated to the local Martha and Mary’s Soup Kitchen, so participants are helping to feed a multitude of people with every bowl purchased.
“I am excited to be part of this and am grateful for the generous support of students and colleagues and local businesses,” Hyrum Benson, event organizer and UMPI Assistant Professor of Fine Art, said. “I think it is wonderful that my students recognize the need in the County and are willing to help by donating some of their amazing handmade bowls.”
As part of Empty Bowls, hand-crafted bowls will be made and donated by artists in the County, UMPI students and alumni, and Presque Isle High School students. Bowls will start at $15. With each purchased bowl, participants will receive a cup of soup donated by local businesses and community members. Both the hand-crafted bowls and soup will be set up in the Rec Center on April 28, so community members are encouraged to stop by, pick out a beautiful bowl, and enjoy a cup of soup for a good cause. In addition, the event’s featured speakers will be Jess Cheney and Melanie Maynard, graduating Social Work seniors from UMPI, who will talk briefly about poverty issues in the region.
Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger and was originally created by The Imagine Render Group, according to the organization’s website. The basic premise is simple: Potters and other craftspeople, educators and others work with the community to create handcrafted bowls. Guests are invited to a simple meal of soup. In exchange for a cash donation, guests are asked to keep a bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. The money raised is donated to an organization working to end hunger and food insecurity.
“We had such a great turn out the first time we did this event and to our surprise sold completely out of bowls in under 30 minutes. I am super excited to be part of this event again and be part of this positive movement,” Benson explained. “We hope that this event will again be a great success and have a positive impact on the lives of individuals here in northern Maine.”
All proceeds from this event will benefit Martha and Mary’s Soup Kitchen, located on 21 Parsons Rd. in Presque Isle. The soup kitchen is usually open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-5 p.m. While open, they serve about 100 to 120 meals per day.
“We are always excited to receive donations to help support our mission of feeding those in need,” Cindy Patten, Kitchen Director at Martha and Mary’s Soup Kitchen, said.