Empty Bowls Fills Stomachs


Idaho Food Bank’s Annual November Event

story by Rachel Holt

“Somebody’s soul is in the bowl. There’s a lot of love in each of them,” says Teena Wright, Development Manager at the Idaho Food Bank.

In its 17th year, Empty Bowls is an annual event by the Idaho Food Bank the day after Thanksgiving where you can purchase a unique bowl and enjoy some freshly prepared soup in it.

This year there will be 50 different varieties of soup from 50 different local restaurants. From hearty chili to classics like chicken noodle. Even a veggie vegan lentil will be offered. Some local restaurants have been contributing soup for years, including Mai Thai, Lock Stock, and Barrel and Richard’s Café Vicino, whose tomato bisque is always a favorite.

ClutchsmallDiane Dalton, chef at Heatherwood Retirement Home, will be throwing her hat in the ring this year as a first time soup donor. Residents of Heatherwood have been involved in donating bowls for the last 4 years and they asked her to get involved. “It’s important for everyone to get involved,” says Dalton. “It’s a good chance to step up to volunteer, especially for a great cause like the Idaho Food Bank.” When asked what soup she’ll bring, Dalton says she’ll wait until the last minute to choose. “I like to wait and get what’s fresh and local.”

Bowls are donated by a variety of local groups including businesses, art centers, and even groups from Boise State. There’s a plethora of bowls to choose from, including painted ceramics, handcrafted bowls from middle and high schools, fused glass bowls, porcelain, and even metal or wood bowls. Wright laughs, “A lot of people will go paint bowls at local ceramic shops to donate, then come to the event and buy back their own bowl.” An estimated 3,000 bowls will be available this year.

Most bowls will go for a standard rate of $10. however artisan bowls will cost more. With the purchase of a bowl you get a filling of soup of your choice and bread donated by Albertsons, one of the event sponsors. All proceeds go to the Idaho Food Bank.

Additionally, there will also be a small section of pet bowls available for sale. These bowls are generally $10 as well but instead of soup, furry friends will get homemade dog bones make by the Arc.

“It’s really a feel-good event. It’s great to see the community come together,” says Wright.

This year the event will be held on Friday, November 28th from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. at the Grove Plaza, despite construction concerns. “We hold the event rain or shine and people show up each year regardless of circumstances,” says Wright. “Keeping it outside and having people wait in line for food is reminiscent of soup lines, and how a warm bowl of soup can make all the difference.”

If you wish to donate soup or bowls to Empty Bowls, please contact Teena Wright at (208) 577-2698 or via email at teenawright@idahofoodbank.org.

For more info about the Idaho Food Bank or to volunteer at the Food Bank check out their website at www.idahofoodbank.org.