A simple meal served in a handmade bowl is symbolic of the minimum calories needed to sustain life and to bring a greater awareness of hunger in our world. The Empty Bowl Lunch, to be held October 16th at the Arizona Center, is celebrating its 19th year in Phoenix and is a partnership between the Arizona Clay Association, WasteNot, and restaurants at The Arizona Center.
Halldor Hjalmarson, a member of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, was the clay association president during the inception of the event and chaired it during the first five years. Since that time he annually contributes ceramic bowls to the lunch and helps serve during the day of the event. He says the event is “made for charity, and potters take pride in contributing bowls made by their hands and hearts”.
Potters contribute the bowls, restaurants provide the food, the Arizona Center provides the space, and WasteNot receives all proceeds. WasteNot feeds thousands upon thousands of hungry people every day. Their trucks and drivers are on the road six days per week, beginning at 6:30am, collecting an average of 5,000 pounds of excess perishable food daily from restaurants, resorts, caterers, grocers and various food purveyors – food that would otherwise be thrown away. They deliver the food the same day to more than 80 diverse agencies that feed the hungry including schools, after-school programs, daycare centers, rehabilitation centers, transition homes and senior facilities.
Patrons select their bowl, contribute $12.00 to WasteNot, are served a simple meal, and keep their bowl as a lasting reminder of hunger in the world. The three hour noon time event generates more than $35,000 in contributions for WasteNot each year.