7th Annual Empty Bowls event serves up homemade soup for a great cause

January 16, 2009

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. – Students from both the art club and the culinary arts program are teaming up to fill more than 300 bowls with soup during the 7th Annual Central Arizona College Empty Bowls event on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at the Signal Peak Campus.

The soup luncheon will run from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on the patio of the Bradley Sizer, Jr., Center for Business Studies (Building N).

For a minimum $10 donation, guests will receive a stoneware bowl of their choice filled with soup. Instead of leaving the bowl for service attendants to clear, guests can just take the bowl home.

The event is open to the public.

All net proceeds from the event will benefit two local food banks – the St. Vincent de Paul in Casa Grande and the Coolidge Resource Center in Coolidge.

“Empty Bowls is a worldwide grassroots initiative that started in 1990 in Michigan to help fight hunger,” Susan Ramos, professor of art, explained. “Traditionally these events are held around the holidays to help raise money for food banks.”

This marks the seventh straight year the event has been held at Central’s Signal Peak Campus. The entire project is a joint effort between the Central Arizona College Art Club and the institution’s culinary arts department. Student cooks will make the soup, which includes a highly-anticipated taco serving and a vegetarian offering.

“Since we have a limited number of advanced ceramics students, we hold the event a little later in the year so we can build our inventory of bowls,” Ramos said.

The inventory is definitely up with more than 300 bowls being put on display for guests.

Ceramists at Central Arizona College create food-safe, stoneware bowls by donating their material and time. The clay is being donated this year by Marjon Ceramics, Inc., located in Phoenix.

Professional potters as well as students contribute their handmade artwork, which may be priced around $35 if sold retail.

“Student cooks prepare the soups,” Carol Bennett, CAC’s professor of culinary arts and resident chef, said. “The meal is served very simply to demonstrate solidarity with folks who are served in a soup kitchen.”

The bowls are more than just a kitchen amenity, according to Ramos.

“Guests choose a bowl to use that day and to keep as a reminder that there are always empty bowls in the world.”

In the past, the CAC Art Club has produced about 100 bowls to sell at the event. But in 2008, production increased exponentially, with another 300 listed again this year.

“Again this year, thanks to a lot of hard work, we have more than 300 new bowls ready for the soup line,” Ramos said. “We do not pre-sell bowls or tickets in order to give everyone a fair chance to choose their favorite bowl.”

The sale begins promptly at 11 a.m. Once purchased, the bowls are washed and filled with the vegetarian offering or the Southwest Taco Soup. The participants may eat in the culinary arts dining room or on the East Garden Patio. Bowls will be rinsed following the event so guests may take them home.

For more information about the Empty Bowls event, please contact Susan Ramos by phone at 520-494-5084, or by e-mail at susan.ramos@centralaz.edu.


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