Hub City Empty Bowls Launches 2017

Press Release
Thursday, May 15, 2017
For Immediate Release

Prepared by
Steve Wong
Just4Wong@Gmail.com
864 316 6559

 

Hub City Empty Bowls -- an annual fundraiser that uses handmade pottery bowls to feed hungry Spartanburg citizens -- has set the 2017 dates for its well-attended events. There will be three regularly scheduled bowl-making events: Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. in Spartanburg Art Museum’s pottery studio at Chapman Cultural Center; Thursday, July 20, 5-8 p.m. at West Main Artists Co-Op, during ArtWalk; and Saturday, August 26, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. at Chapman Cultural Center. Soup Day will be Saturday, October 28, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Chapman Cultural Center. All events are free and family friendly.

Hub City Empty Bowls is a localized fundraiser inspired the international Empty Bowls decentralized program. Locally, the program’s spearhead Carolina Clay Artists coordinates public bowl-making sessions. At no charge, citizens of all ages are given supplies, tools, space, and instructions on how to make hand-shaped pottery bowls. Those unfinished bowls are left at the venue to be painted and fired by experienced potters. Bowls often made by children can be simple, primitive, and charming. Others made by experienced potters can be precise, intricate, and sophisticated.

With hundreds of bowls created by local citizens, Carolina Clay Artists then hosts Soup Day, an event where patrons receive the bowls — each for a $15 donation to TOTAL Ministries, a local charity that provides food and other resources to people in financial crisis. In addition to receiving bowls, the patrons can enjoy a meal of soup, bread, and tea donated by the community’s leading restaurants, hear live music, bid in a silent auction, and enjoy the fellowship and comradery of knowing they are helping to feed people in need. In 2016, the Carolina Clay Artists donated a record-breaking $33,000 to TOTAL Ministries.

“Coordinating Hub City Empty Bowls is a massive undertaking,” 2017 Chairman Bruce Bowyer said. “People want to know as soon as possible about our dates so they can plan accordingly. Some people come to all of the bowl-making sessions and Soup Day. Plus, by setting the dates early, we can better handle the large crowds of people who normally show up. It is not unusual for us to have several hundred people come to a bowl-making session. And come Soup Day, we’ll see more than a thousand.”

Despite the crowds, it is seldom anyone has to wait to make a bowl or enjoy Soup Day. Space, volunteers, and experience are plentiful enough to keep everyone engaged.

Carolina Clay Artists is a local group of hobbyist and professional potters who come together monthly to share ideas, hold workshops and demos, and tour pottery studios to see other artists’ work and learn new ideas. It is open to all who have an interest in learning and sharing about pottery. Annual dues are $35. Hub City Empty Bowls is the group’s annual charity fundraising event to help feed the hungry.

TOTAL Ministries got its start in 1982 as Project Eat. Founder Dannie Horne saw an unemployment rate of 9.7% and that many people in Spartanburg County were hungry. During the first 17 months of Project Eat's existence, $190,000 of groceries were distributed in an effort to alleviate that problem. In 1983, TOTAL Ministries of Spartanburg County, Inc. was incorporated by 12 Spartanburg churches to carry on the work of Project Eat. Since then, additional emergency services have been added to the TOTAL mission in an effort to help those in need. For those in need, TOTAL can help with utility services, food, and medications.

Empty Bowls started in 1990 by Michigan art teacher John Hartom, who organized a charitable event to give his art students a way to make a personal difference in the lives of others in their community. Hartom's students made pottery bowls in their high school art classes, and the finished products were then used as individual serving pieces for a fundraising meal of soup and bread. From that simple beginning, Empty Bowls has spread around the world, taking root in communities both small and large. Spartanburg had its first Empty Bowls program in 2009. All Empty Bowls efforts are locally based with all proceeds going to a local charity with a mission to alleviate hunger in its community. None of the money raised leaves the community. The lead agency, Carolina Clay Artists, donates all of its time and talents, and receives no monetary benefit. Locally, all proceeds go to TOTAL Ministries.

For more information about Hub City Empty Bowls, please visit online: HubCityEmptyBowls.com. Or, call (864) 706-3739 or (864) 585-9167.

 

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Soup Day 2016 Nets $33,000 to Feed the Needy

Press Release
Friday, Oct. 28, 2016
For Immediate Release

Prepared by
Steve Wong
Spartanburg, SC
Just4Wong@Gmail.com
864 316 6559

Carolina Clay Artists will give TOTAL Ministries $33,000 as the result of the 2016 Hub City Empty Bowls project.

            “I can’t tell you what this means to TOTAL Ministries,” the charity’s Executive Director Traci Kennedy said. “$33,000 will provide a great many bags of food to the needy people in Spartanburg County this year. This is literally a lifesaver. I can only say ‘thank you’ to Carolina Clay Artists, the people who made the bowls, the people who bought the bowls, the restaurants that made the soup, the volunteers, the sponsors and donors, and all of the other people and business that contributed. Please know, you have helped hundreds of people who would go hungry if not for your generosity.”

            During the summer, Carolina Clay Artists, a group of potters and clay artists who spearhead Hub City Empty Bowls, held three public bowl-making sessions. These were free events where the general public made pottery bowls at no cost. All materials, time, space, and instruction were donated. Many of the bowls were uniquely homemade, often made by children, while others were made by professional or experienced potters. In total 615 people made more than 2,000 bowls that were gathered for Soup Day, which is a fundraiser.

            On Soup Day, Oct. 15, all of the bowls were displayed in Spartanburg Art Museum at Chapman Cultural Center in downtown Spartanburg. Throughout the gallery there were many tables laden with scores of colorful bowls, each one made by someone who wanted to help feed the needy. For every $15 donation, a patron could take whichever bowl he or she wanted and then enjoy a simple meal of soup that was being served in the facility’s theater lobby. The soup was donated by two dozen local restaurants. It was served with live music provided at no cost by local musicians. Nearly 1,500 bowls were taken that day by more than 1,000 people.

            “We are thrilled this was our best year ever,” event Chairman Bruce Bowyer said. “It is always a lot of work, but it is a labor of love. This event is solid proof that people care. We purposely keep it at the grassroots level. People know the money they give is going straight to a good cause. No one at Carolina Clay Artists is paid. But we are proud that we are able to contribute this much toward feeding the needy in Spartanburg. It’s like eating a nice bowl of soup: You get this warm feeling inside.”

            In past years, Carolina Clay Artists would donate the proceeds of Soup Day to various local charities that provided food to Spartanburg’s needy. Now, the Artists and TOTAL Ministries have partnered, allowing the artists to focus on bow-making and TOTAL to focus on fundraising for Hub City Empty Bowls. As a point of comparison, in 2011, Carolina Clay Artists gave TOTAL Ministries $6,700. This year, the donation will be $33,000. “Yes, we call that success,” Bowyer said.

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Hub City Empty Bowls fundraiser to raise money for TOTAL Ministries

Published in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016.

By Jose Franco, jose.franco@shj.com

Kenneth Cribb's Willy's Chicken Tortilla Soup is the restaurant's take on a Southwestern classic.

Cribb, an owner of Willy Taco, "a chef-driven Mexican fusion taqueria," described his Tortilla Soup as hearty.

"It has black beans, corn, and roasted and pulled chicken," he said. "It's got some nice smoke and spice. We hit it with some cilantro lime crema and guacamole to cut the smoke, spice, and heat with a little bit of creaminess."

Willy's Chicken Tortilla Soup, Mon Amie's Italian Sausage & Squash Soup and Cribb's Kitchen's Corn Chowder are a few of the many kinds of soup which will be available during Hub City Empty Bowls Soup Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Chapman Cultural Center, 200 E. St. John St., Spartanburg.

To read more, please click here… http://www.goupstate.com/entertainment/20161012/hub-city-empty-bowls-fundraiser-to-raise-money-for-total-ministries

Hub City Empty Bowls Soup Day Slated for Oct. 15

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016

Prepared by
Steve Wong
Just4Wong@Gmail.com
864 316 6559

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 hundreds of 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 hundreds 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. 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.

 

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2016 General Press Release

Press Release
Monday, July 4, 2016
For Immediate Release

Prepared by
Steve Wong
864 316 6559
Just4Wong@Gmail.com


Hub City Empty Bowls 2016 Aims to Feed Local Hungry Citizens

Hub City Empty Bowls anticipates another great art-based campaign in 2016 to feed the hungry people in Spartanburg County and invites everyone to make hand-crafted pottery bowls at free public events this summer. The finished bowls will be used for the annual Soup Day fundraiser in the autumn.  This year, there will be three bowl-making opportunities for public participation: Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. in Spartanburg Art Museum’s studios at Chapman Cultural Center; Thursday, July 21, 6-8:30 p.m. at West Main Artists Co-Op; and Saturday, Aug. 27, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. in Spartanburg Art Museum’s studios at Chapman Cultural Center. The Soup Day fundraiser will be Saturday, Oct. 15, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Chapman Cultural Center.  The food pantry at TOTAL Ministries will receive the proceeds from the fundraiser to help feed the needy in Spartanburg County.

According to a 2016 report by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps by University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, 15 percent of Spartanburg’s population – that’s 42,980 people – is “food insecure.” In Greenville County, the percentage is 14. The lowest ranking county in the state is Lexington with 12 percent, and the highest ranking county is Allendale with 28 percent. Overall, 17 percent of the people in South Carolina “lack adequate access to food.”

“We might not be the worst county in South Carolina with a hunger problem,” Traci Kennedy, Director of TOTAL Ministries, said. “But 42,980 is a lot of people – our friends and neighbors – who don’t have enough to eat. For children it is even worse. 22.5 percent of the children in Spartanburg – almost one out of every four – is going hungry. It is TOTAL Ministries’ mission to help feed the hungry, and thanks to Hub City Empty Bowls, we are making headway. I just pray we have another good turnout of people to make the bowls and then have them and their friends come back on Soup Day to make donations, take the bowls home, eat some truly wonderful soup, and take comfort in knowing they have helped someone in need.” TOTAL Ministries has an annual budget of about $300,000, normally helps more than 4,500 households each year.

But first, you need to make pottery bowls. Bowl-making events provide a unique opportunity for members of the community to experience the pleasure of working with clay at no cost and at any level of experience, including no experience. The clay, facilities, and instruction are all donated.  Members of Carolina Clay Artists and volunteers will be on hand to instruct participants in the techniques of bowl-making.  Many of the bowls will be simple and primitive, which has a beauty all of its own. Some participants are experienced potters, who make their bowls on pottery wheels, often producing professional-grade bowls. The events are open to anyone willing to give of their time and effort, and make for wholesome and free family activities. The bowls are left at the studios and are later glazed and fired by experienced volunteers.

“People look forward to our bowl-making events every year,” Nancy Williamson, publicity leader on behalf of Carolina Clay Artists, said. “I see some of the same faces and families come back each year. It’s fun, easy, creative, free, and, of course, it is for a good cause. I am truly amazed at some of the raw talent I is see. Even more amazing is to see all the finished bowls laid out on Soup Day for the public to take home. It’s almost like an art exhibit – a huge art exhibit with every color of the rainbow and shape imaginable.”

Proceeds from last year’s campaign allowed Hub City Empty Bowls to make an all-time high donation of $26,000 to TOTAL Ministries, a faith-based organization with a primary mission of helping the financially disadvantaged citizens of the community. Most of the money was raised on Soup Day, when citizens would receive the handmade bowls by donating $15. As part of the festive occasion, local restaurants donated gourmet soup that the donors could enjoy, along with live music and fellowship. 2016 marks the eighth year that Carolina Clay Artists has spearheaded the local effort of the internationally successful Empty Bowls concept of feeding the needy through the creation of pottery bowls.
          
On Soup Day, the hundreds of finished and colorful bowls will be displayed in Spartanburg Art Museum at Chapman Cultural Center. For every $15 donation, the donor gets to keep a bowl of his or her choice and enjoy a simple meal of soup, bread, and tea, served in Chapman’s theater lobby. Along the perimeter of the lobby will be various serving stations set up by local restaurants that donate a wide selection of soups to the occasion. Patrons can enjoy soups from some of the best restaurants in Spartanburg, while dining under a large canopy set up in the outdoor plaza, and enjoy listening to live music and sharing in the fellowship of knowing they are helping feed citizens in the local community. A silent auction of donated items also takes place as another means of raising money. The tradition of having a drum circle in the lobby or plaza will continue this year.

Empty Bowls was started by a high school teacher in Michigan in 1990 as a high school student project to help feed the needy and has grown into an international phenomenon.  There are hundreds of Empty Bowls projects around the world, raising millions of dollars to feed the hungry. Each Empty Bowls organization is independent and self-governed.

Thus far, this year’s sponsors are Spartanburg Regional Foundation Healing Arts Fund, Carolina Clay Artists, West Main Artists Co-Op, Action Printing, Milliken & Company, Wheresville Productions, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg Art Museum, and Chris Williams. The project is still seeking more sponsors: companies and individuals willing to donate funds; restaurants to donate soup, bread, and tea; other businesses to donate eating utensils, such as paper cups, plastic spoon, and napkins; individuals and businesses to donate silent auction items; and potters to make the bowls.  Those willing to donate should contact Traci Kennedy at Director@TotalMinistries.org or (864) 585-9167. For more information about TOTAL Ministries please visit TotalMinistries.org.

Hub City Empty Bowls is a component fund of the Spartanburg County Foundation. It was established to increase awareness about the issues of hunger and food insecurity, and to help local organizations fight hunger.  For more information, please visit online: HubCityEmptyBowls.com. For the latest information on Hub City Empty Bowls, please like the organization on Facebook.

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