Fill a South student-made bowl at Powderhorn Empty Bowls


Luca Raffo-Simoes

Loren Morain works at the wheel to help Powderhorn Empty Bowls

Luca Raffo-Simoes, Staff Writer

Powderhorn Empty Bowls, is a yearly event in the powderhorn park building. The bowls available to attendees are made by local potters and some South High students.

Powderhorn Empty Bowls (PEB) started in 2007 by five neighbors who met at the Powderhorn Park Pottery Program. The idea of “Empty Bowls” itself was started in 1990 by two art teaches in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: John Hartorn and Lisa Blackburn, since then, it has spread all over the U.S. and Europe.

PEB is when potters donate bowls and community members come and pick one out. You donate as much as you can and then your bowl gets filled with soup for you to enjoy.  At the end of your meal, you take your bowl home.

The money donated is used to fight hunger locally. South students are some of the potters donating bowls. “I think it’s a really cool cause” said student Oliver Elias. “I think it’s really cool that I get to make bowls for people to keep, without any price.”

David Olson, the ceramics teacher at South, agrees. He believes Empty Bowls is a great way for students to directly help in ending local hunger. Olson explained that making bowls isn’t the only way you can participate, you can volunteer at the event. Volunteers help in the kitchen, serve food and help to distribute the bowls.

Olson also explained the great need for bowls at PEB: “They literally need thousands of bowls. Because there are thousands of people who come to this event and everybody gets to take a bowl home with them”.

Empty Bowls is Friday November 4th and Olson expressed about his disappointment that it isn’t a school day this year. “Normally I take teams of students over there, they get a permission slip and all that so it’s almost like a field trip,” Olson said. “But this year since it’s on a non-school day students can still volunteer but they have to sign up online, through the Empty Bowls Website.”

According to the Powderhorn Empty Bowls website, in 2013 200 gallons of soup were eaten. 1,955 bowls were taken home, 2,328 neighbors and friends attended and $31,824.81 was raised to fight hunger.

In past years, the money has gone to the food shelf at Division of Indian Work, Sisters Camelot and the Powderhorn Youth Farm/Market. In the last six years this event has provided the Powderhorn neighborhood with tens of thousands of meals.

The bowl that you make can become a part of someone else’s life, they take that bowl home and now they have a connection to that bowl. Olson talked about how he hopes this teaches his students that the art doesn’t stop in the school. He explained, “It [art] can have a larger impact.”

(If you would like to sign up to volunteer the website is