Empty Bowls, Full Hearts

The holiday season is also the giving season; and I’m not just talking about gift-giving. Although we see charitable causes throughout the year, the weeks leading up to Christmas seem to be filled with good deeds, festive cheer, and people going out of their way to help others. Above everything else, this is why I love the holiday season.


As most of you know by now, Dirty South Pottery provides all the bowls for the Winchester Empty Bowls event. Empty Bowls is a nationwide occurrence that any community can put on as long as they abide by two main rules; the bowls must be 100% handmade, and that all the proceeds go to feed the hungry in the same community. It just so happens that handmade pottery and keeping charity local are two things we happen to be passionate about.

The amount of bowls needed to support this event is 300 for Winchester – that’s a lot of bowls to come out of one studio. But as your friendly neighborhood potters, we wanted to take it on. Carvel made all of the bowls this year so that I would have time to focus on producing pottery for our store, wholesale accounts, and festivals. He started making them in January. JANUARY. And the last 2 bowls just came out of the kiln on Sunday.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t take 10 months to make 300 bowls – unless you’re trying to also produce work for a store: which we are. We have been firing them slowly with our normal workload throughout the year, with a few firings dedicated specifically for Empty Bowls.

We will deliver the bowls to the First Presbyterian Church on Thursday, where volunteers will wash them in preparation for Friday’s soup lunch event. The food will be served directly into the bowls, and from there you can choose a seat of your own liking. There are no fancy seasonings, or 10 choices of soup to choose from. Why? Well, I am so glad you asked.

Empty Bowls is to benefit the hungry in our community. They are our neighbors and fellow citizens. When you’re eating from food that has been donated to you, you usually do not get the choice of 10 different soups, or to add Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes to spice things up. The folks who work hard to put on Empty Bowls believe that the meal that we share to benefit our neighbors should be modest, much like the meal that we will be providing them with.

And let’s face facts, guys; if you’re coming to this charity event for a 5-star dining experience, you’re missing the point of Empty Bowls entirely.

It’s not about the food or the bowl. It’s about coming together to help our fellow Winchester citizens. This event is made to raise money in a way that everyone can participate in; even if it is just showing up with $20 and having soup with a stranger.

We ask that you keep all this in mind when you go for lunch on Friday. There is a limit of 1 bowl per person, and now you know why. Empty Bowls is an experience in humanity, not just a way for you to get a lunch and a cheap bowl. I encourage you to think about sitting with strangers, or maybe just smile a little wider at the volunteers when they help you through the line.

Find out the details on their Facebook Event HERE.

Ashley Norman

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.