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'Empty Bowls' Luncheon Draws Large Crowd On Valentine's Day

2017 Empty Bowls place setting

This Valentine’s Day, the Oxford community came together to support the local food pantry at the annual ‘Empty Bowls’ luncheon. 

‘Empty Bowls’ is an international project to fight hunger that began as a grassroots movement in Michigan over 25 years ago. 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. Today, the concept has grown so that many communities around the world host annual ‘Empty Bowls’ events to help support their local food pantries. 
empty-mud-daubersIn Oxford, ‘Empty Bowls’ benefits The Pantry, a food pantry located on Molly Barr Road that has served hundreds of families every month for over 30 years. Members of churches and other interested local residents run The Pantry by donating their time and expertise to help others for no compensation and with no expectations. 
For a minimum donation of $20, attendees received a handcrafted ceramic bowl of their choice, a delicious bowl of soup, warm bread and a glass of water at the luncheon.
The bowls that are available are made by the University of Mississippi’s student artists, the Mud Daubers and other local artists. The Mud Daubers and local artists generously donate hundreds of bowls for this cause every year, something that has been a main draw for many of the attendees. The bowls are showcased on a table and choosing only one proves to be rather difficult. 
This year’s event featured 24 different types of soup that were donated by local restaurants, catering companies and businesses. The menu ranged from the comfort of chicken tortilla and gumbo to vegetarian minestrone and zuppa toscana. The menu also offered a selection of breads from Bottletree Bakery, Aramark, Piggly Wiggly in Batesville, Ajax and Camp Lake Stephens. 

‘Empty Bowls’ participating vendors and soup menu

After picking the perfect bowl, meeting chefs and receiving warm soup and bread, attendees then sat at tables with other happy guests and discovered placemats that had a special story to tell. The placemats told the story of a man who learns that the difference between being hungry and frustrated, and being full and happy is learning to feed each other. 
On the perfect date for an event such as this, Valentine’s Day, hundreds of community members showed up to the Oxford Conference Center to prove that there are two things this community thrives in: feeding and caring for one another. 
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Bowl selection table

Soup and bread tables

‘Empty Bowls’ place setting

‘Empty Bowls’ placemats

Amy Goodin is a writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at argoodin12@gmail.com.
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