Hub City Empty Bowls’s annual Soup Day — a grassroots fundraiser to help feed local hungry people — will be Saturday, Oct. 15, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Chapman Cultural Center. The public is invited to select handmade pottery bowls and enjoy a wide selection of gourmet soups in exchange for $15 donations. All proceeds go towards feeding the hungry at TOTAL Ministries, a local non-profit, faith-based agency that helps citizens who are facing financial crisis.
Last year, Hub City Empty Bowls donated $26,000 to TOTAL Ministries. Carolina Clay Artists has spearheaded Hub City Empty Bowls since its inception in 2009. Since then, this group of potters has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help feed people in Spartanburg County.
For the past several months at Spartanburg Art Museum’s pottery studio and West Main Artists Co-Op, the general public has been making clay pottery bowls in preparation for Soup Day. Average citizens, as well as trained potters, have made nearly 2,000 bowls at free bowl-making events. Those bowls have been glazed and fired by volunteers and will be displayed in Spartanburg Art Museum at Chapman on Soup Day. The display of thousands of colorful bowls is an impressive sight. Patrons can select the bowls of their liking in an exchange for $15 donations. Afterward, the patrons may enjoy a simple meal of soup, bread, and tea while enjoying live music and fellowship.
“As much fun is generated during Soup Day, we always want to keep in mind the real reason why we do this,” Bruce Bowyer, Chairman of the event said.
“Latest statistics say that about 15 percent of the people in Spartanburg are what professionals call ‘food insecure.’ Food Insecurity causes 43,000 Spartanburg County residents to struggle with putting food on the table or keeping a roof over a families head. TOTAL Ministries can help relieve the stress of these families by making sure they can put food on the table. The Carolina Clay Artists and all of the many people who help with Empty Bowls do it because we want to make sure everyone has enough food to eat. It really is just that simple.”
“The need in Spartanburg is dire,” Traci Kennedy, Executive Director of TOTAL Ministries, said. “If it weren’t for Hub City Empty Bowls, I don’t know what we do. Carolina Clay Artists is a Godsend. We literally have people lined up outside our door needing food. Our resources are limited, and I hate to admit that we cannot meet the entire need of the community. But thanks to Empty Bowls a lot more people are able to get much needed food. If you’ve never been in the situation of not knowing how you will feed your children, you’ll never fully understand how important Empty Bowls is.”
TOTAL Ministries has become an official organizing partner with Carolina Clay Artists in the annual Hub City Empty Bowls project and the recipient of the proceeds. In past years, the proceeds were donated to various hunger-related agencies.
The soup — donated by local restaurants — will be served in Chapman’s theater lobby, where the music will also be performed. More than two dozen restaurants or food providers have been recruited to donate at least five gallons of soup. Those restaurants are Andre Nguyen, Basil’s Grille, Country Club of Spartanburg, Cribb’s Catering, Cribb’s Kitchen On Main, FATZ Café, Garner’s Cafe, Gerhards Cafe, Hub City Co-Op, Lime Leaf, Lowes, McClellan’s Urban Eatery, Mon Amie Morning Cafe, Moveable Feasts, Nu-Way Restaurant & Lounge, Palmetto Palate, Renato In Centro, Skillet Restaurant, Southern BBQ, Sparks, Sun King Chinese Restaurant, II Samuels Restaurant, Wild Ace’s, and Willy Taco. Donors of bread, tea, and supplies include The Beacon Drive In, Cakehead Bakery, Little River Roasting Co., Long Horn’s, Wade’s Southern Cooking, and Chick-fil-a.
During Soup Day, there will also a silent auction and live music. Collectors take note: the silent auction will feature finely crafted ceramics created by local and regional artists. Some of the other Silent Auction items include use of the 7-day use of a beach condo on Hilton Head Island, a party for 24 people at Taco Willy, and a golf flag signed by Tiger Woods. The musicians donating their talents are Daniel Z, Fayssoux & Brandon, Rick Praytor, Frank Walker, and Mark Miller & Friends. Public drum circles, led by Melisa Emkjer, will be held in the plaza noon-1 p.m. and 2-3 p.m.
“We are getting down to the wire on this year’s Hub City Empty Bowls’s project,” Bowyer said. “We’ve got the bowls, we’ve got the soup, now we need the people to come and get them.”
The event’s sponsors are Carolina Clay Artists, Spartanburg Art Museum, West Main Artists Co-op, Chapman Cultural Center, Chris Williams, Action Printing, The Healing Arts Fund at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Milliken, Fairway Outdoor, The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, and Wheresville Productions. This program is supported in part by The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg, and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. Proceeds from this event will be directed to the Hub City Empty Bowls Project Fund, a component fund of The Spartanburg County Foundation established to increase awareness about the issues of hunger and food security, and to raise funds to help local organizations fight hunger. This year’s beneficiary organization is TOTAL Ministries.
For more information about Bowls Soup Day, please visit HubCityEmptyBowls.com or call (864) 706-3739.