Converse College Donates Space for Hub City Empty Bowls Event

Press Release
For Immediate Releas
Tuesday, July 2, 2019


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


Community event: Saturday, July 13

Make a Bowl for Charity

Hub City Empty Bowls will sponsor two free and public pottery bowl-making sessions at Converse College on Saturday, July 13, at 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. The bowls made during these creative and grassroots events will be used later to raise money to feed needy Spartanburg citizens through TOTAL Ministries, a faith-based agency that aids people in financial straits.

No talent or skill is needed to participate, only a creative community spirit and the desire to help those in need. All materials -- clay, instruction, space -- are provided at no cost. Participants will hand-shape clay bowls that will be left at Converse College to be finished by experienced potters through the lead sponsoring agency Carolina Clay Artists. In the fall, the finished bowls will be used at the much-anticipated Soup Day, a community event that lets people select the bowls of their choice for $20 donations and then eat soup provided by local restaurants, hear live music, and enjoy the fellowship.

Several hundreds of colorful bowls of various styles and shapes are available on Soup Day. About two dozen restaurants provide the soup. And for the past few years, more than $30,000 has been raised each year.

“We are thrilled that Converse College has welcomed Hub City Empty Bowls on its campus for this event,” Chairman Bruce Bowyer said. “We are grateful for Converse’s generous community spirit in letting us use its studio space. This year, we also held bowl-making sessions at Wofford College and West Main Artists Co-op. Their contributions and involvement are vital to our success in making bowls that are turned into funds to help those in need. Thank you Converse College, Wofford College, and West Main Artists Co-op for giving your resources and for caring about people who don’t have enough to eat.”

Hub City Empty Bowls, a non-profit agency, is now in its eleventh year of helping people who are “food insecure,” which is usually defined as not being sure you’ll have the resources for your next meal. Empty Bowls is an international and grassroots effort by clay potters to help feed the needy. There is no headquarters or central administration. Each community designs its fundraising program around the concept of using clay bowls made by citizens to raise money to feed the needy. The exact ways and means are different for each community.

For more information about Hub City Empty Bowls, please visit online the Facebook page and the website: HubCityEmptyBowls.com.


#


Hub City Empty Bowls Kicks Off 2019 at Wofford College

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Nov. 15, 2019

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

Hub City Empty Bowls’ first public bowl-making event for 2019 will be on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 21, at Wofford College. This free community event -- that allows non-artisans the opportunity make pottery bowls -- will be presented in two sessions: 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts.

For past 10 years, Hub City Empty Bowls has hosted free bowl-making events for the general public. During several of these events, the unfinished bowls are gathered and fired by professional ceramists, and then used to raise funds to feed the food-insecure citizens in Spartanburg County. Food-insecure citizens -- about 40,000 in Spartanburg County -- sometimes have to go hungry in order to pay medical and housing bills. This charitable effort is headed by Carolina Clay Artists, and the proceeds of the fundraiser benefit TOTAL Ministries. Both are non-profit agencies.

“Normally, we don’t start public bowl-making sessions until the late spring or early summer,” Chairman and potter Bruce Bowyer said. “But the popularity and the demand continues to grow, and, this year, we are starting in January at Wofford College. We are extremely pleased to have now partnered with Wofford College in our fight against hunger in Spartanburg. And we are most excited that we’ll will be using the pottery studio in the new Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts. This will be a great opportunity for people to see this new art center. Also, there will be plenty of parking: In addition to parking on campus, you can park in the lot at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, which is just next door.”

For each of the past three years, Hub City Empty Bowls has raised more than $30,000 for TOTAL Ministries, a faith-based charity that helps local citizens in dire financial straits. Most of the money is raised at Soup Day, a day when local restaurants donate gallons of gourmet soup to people who buy the pottery bowls that were made during the previous months.

Empty Bowls is a worldwide social movement that has no central control, oversight, or headquarters. At the core is always potters and cermanists who want to alleviate hunger in their community by involving the public in making pottery bowls. Each effort is unique, but in many cases, the bowls are sold to patrons who attend a fundraising food-related event.

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


#


Hub City Empty Bowls To Host Second Bowl-Making Day of 2019

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Friday, May 24, 2019

Prepared by Steve Wong
Just4Wongf@Gmail.com
864 316 6559

Hub City Empty Bowls will sponsor a bowl-making event at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg on Saturday, June 8, from 1 until 4 p.m. Everyone is invited to make pottery bowls, which will be used to raise funds to feed needy people of Spartanburg. There is no cost to participate, and all instruction and supplies are provided by volunteers from Carolina Clay Artists, the organization in charge of this annual not-for-profit community project.

“Every year, I am amazed at how this never gets old,” Hub City Empty Bowl chairman and Carolina Clay Artists board member Bruce Bowyer said. “There is something very special about the Empty Bowls project that brings people together to do good work in our community. All it takes is people coming together to shape clay and then coming together to eat soup.”

The first bowl-making event of 2019 was held in January at Wofford College. The third bowl-making event of the year will be at Converse College on Saturday, July 13.

To participate, you don’t need special skills or talents, just a creative spirit, willing hands, and the desire to help people in the community. The bowls made by citizens will be left at West Main Artists Co-op to be glazed and fired by volunteer potters.

All the bowls made throughout the year are gathered together for Soup Day, an event where the public can get the bowls of their choice for a donation of $20 each. Some people get several bowls to be used as gifts or table settings. There are hundreds of bowls in different colors and shapes, made by people with many different levels of experience. 

During Soup Day, patrons enjoy a wide selection of donated soups, live music, and a silent auction. All proceeds from the event are donated to TOTAL Ministries, an organization that raises money to feed local citizens who are food insecure.

“There are approximately 37,000 Spartanburg County residents who are food insecure,” TOTAL Ministries’ Executive Director Traci Kennedy said. “People who are food insecure have to make a choice of paying to avoid utility disconnection or putting food on the table. Before partnering with Hub City Empty Bowls, our pantry would be empty during the summer months when donations are low. Now, although it is not always full, there is always food to help those in need.” 

Hub City Empty Bowls is one of Spartanburg County’s most respected and successful grassroots fundraisers, now in its eleventh year. Its purpose is to use the making of pottery bowls as a means to raise money that will help feed local citizens who don’t have enough to eat. Each year, Hub City Empty Bowls raises tens of thousands of dollars that are given to a local charity that is aligned with this purpose.

For more information, visit HubCityEmptyBowls.com or its Facebook page.


#


2018 Press Release Overview

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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


 

Filling Empty Bowls

Hub City Empty Bowls Celebrates 10 Years with a New Event

 

By Steve Wong
Just4Wong@Gmail.com

Hub City Empty Bowls 2018 marks 10 years of pottery bowl-making as a way to raise funds that feed hungry people in Spartanburg who are not sure where their next meal is coming from.

To celebrate 10 years of helping the public make thousands of hand-shaped pottery bowls and donating tens of thousands of dollars to local charity that provides food to the needy, the lead agency Carolina Clay Artists will add a special event to its lineup of activities. In addition to three bowl-making sessions and Soup Day, “10 Years of Filling Empty Bowls” will be a ticketed party on Friday, Sept. 28, at Indigo Hall in downtown Spartanburg. Patrons will purchase $50 advance tickets that will admit them to the event and will include first dibs on selecting pottery bowls (one bowl is included in the ticket price); beer, wine, and finger foods; and a silent auction. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Traci Kennedy at (864) 585-9167, ext. 202 or emailing her at Director@TotalMinistries.org.

“This is a special year, and we wanted to do something special to celebrate,” Hub City Empty Bowls 2018 Chair Bruce Bowyer said. “After nine years of doing this, we’ve noticed some things that people really like about Hub City Empty Bowls. They like the pottery bowls. They like looking at them and getting the ones they really want based on shape, color, and personality. They like being together. People really have a good time when they attend bowl-making sessions or Soup Day. They like coming together for a common cause. So, we are giving them another opportunity to enjoy what they like the most. The night before Soup Day, we’ll host this party for people who want the best selection of bowls and who want another reason to get together in their efforts to end local hunger. I think a good time will be had by all, and, of course, all of the money will be given to TOTAL Ministries, the local faith-based charity that provides food to local people in dire financial straits.”

In recent years, Hub City Empty Bowls as averaged donating about $33,000 a year to TOTAL Ministries, which now helps with the administration of the annual event, freeing members of Carolina Clay Artists to focus their efforts on actual pottery making.

“Carolina Clay Artists has filled many empty stomachs in Spartanburg in the past nine years,” TOTAL’s Director Traci Kennedy said. “So many people -- not just the homeless but average people who have lost jobs or fallen on hard times -- have been saved from the pangs of hunger because someone made a pottery bowl and someone else bought it. Hub City Empty Bowls is a grassroots effort that has struck a nerve in Spartanburg. It is much anticipated and much loved. It is a creative program, it is an inclusive program, it is an effective program. Look at it this way: a $20 pottery bowl produces about 100 pounds of food from the local food bank. One hundred pounds of food can feed a family of four for about a week.”

According to Feeding America, a leading national agency dedicated to stopping hunger, about 13.6 percent or 39,690 people in Spartanburg are “food insecure,” which is usually defined as people who aren’t sure if they will have their next meal. The State of South Carolina has a rate of 15.3 percent or 746,810 people out of the total population of 4,896,146, based on 2017 statistics.

“Spartanburg may not be the worst county in the state for food insecurity, but we certainly have a problem,” Kennedy said. “I see it every week as people who need help line up outside our doors.”

The first bowl-making session will be Saturday, June 16, at Spartanburg Art Museum (SAM), housed at Chapman Cultural Center. The morning session will be 10 a.m. to noon; the afternoon session will be 1-3 p.m. Anyone can attend, and there is no charge. All clay, studio space, and professional instruction are donated. This is an excellent family event.

The second bowl-making session will be Saturday, July 7, at West Main Artists Co-op, 1-4 p.m. The third and final bowl-making session will be Saturday, July 14, at SAM, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m.

Soup Day will be Saturday, Sept. 29, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Indigo Hall. Hundreds of finished pottery bowls will be on display and available for purchase/donation at $20 each. Included in the day’s activities will be about two dozen gourmet soups donated by local restaurants. The meal will include tea, water, and bread. Also, there will be live music.

“Bowl making is the creative part of Hub City Empty Bowl,” Bowyer said. “Individuals and families come to experience pottery or to scratch a creative itch. Soup Day is when it all comes together. I’ve seen people get a dozen or more bowls at a time. They use them for Christmas gifts, and I know of one lady who gets them to be used at her Thanksgiving meal. Then they all congregate to eat soup, listen to the music, and feel good about helping others. It really is one of Spartanburg’s most heartwarming events.”

This year’s sponsors are West Main Artists Co-op, Spartanburg Art Museum, Chapman Cultural Center, Allegra Printing, JM Smith Corp., and Chris Williams.

Empty Bowls is an international phenomenon that uses art to fight hunger in local communities. It started in 1990, when Michigan high school art teacher John Hartom wanted to create an outreach program for his students to use art as a means to raise money that would be used to feed local citizens. From there, the concept spread globally, with each community tweaking the concept to fit its unique circumstances. Most communities engage local potters to help citizens make pottery bowls that are eventually sold at a public event, such Hub City Empty Bowls’s Soup Day. Other communities use different types of art and/or different fundraising events. There is no centralized authority: each community coordinates its program based on the original concept but individualizes it to suit its ways, means, and goals.

For more information about “10 Years of Filling Empty Bowls” or Hub City Empty Bowls, please visit online HubCityEmptyBowls.com.

 

#

Soup's On

Short Press Release
Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017
For Immediate Release

Prepared by
Steve Wong

Just4Wong@Gmail.com
864 316 6559

 

Soup’s On
Hub City Empty Bowls Gears Up for Soup Day, Oct. 28

Soup’s on — on Saturday, Oct. 28, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Chapman Cultural Center.

Hub City Empty Bowls will host its annual Soup Day to raise money and awareness for hunger in Spartanburg, where about 16 percent of the people are not sure where their next meal is coming from. Spearheaded by Carolina Clay Artists, Soup Day is a community event where citizens can make $15 donations to receive locally handmade pottery bowls and a simple meal of soup, bread, tea, and the fellowship of others who want to make Spartanburg a better place to live. All money raised will be given to TOTAL Ministries, a local nonprofit charity that helps Spartanburg citizens in dire financial straits. Last year, 2016, Hub City Empty Bowls gave more than $33,000 to TOTAL Ministries. For every bowl taken by a patron, 83 pounds of food can be secured for those in need.

In addition to several hundred pottery bowls to choose from and about two dozen soups donated by local restaurants, patrons will be able to enjoy live music, a silent auction, and a drum circle on an autumn day.

During the summer, Hub City Empty Bowls hosted three public bowl-making events, where the general public was able to make handmade pottery bowls at no cost. All supplies, space, and instruction were donated. These were wholesome, creative, and well attended community events that welcomed everyone, even children who made some of the most endearing bowls. The hand-shaped bowls were left in at the host studios -- West Main Artists Co-Op and Spartanburg Art Museum -- for touch-ups, painting, and firing. In addition, several experienced and professional potters donated bowls, many of which were wheel thrown and of professional quality. All of those bowls will be available on Soup Day. Many people do their Christmas shopping at Soup Day, securing gifts that have significant social and creative meaning.

Empty Bowls is a worldwide charitable and social phenomenon without any oversight or headquarters. It was started in 1990-91 by a high school art teacher who wanted to involve his students in an art-based community project of making pottery bowls that could be used to raise money to feed the poor. From that humble beginning, the concept spread around the world, taking on many different aspects, but always keeping locally made pottery bowls as the source of the fundraising.

For more information about Hub City Empty Bowls’s 2017 Soup Day, please visit online HubCityEmptyBowls.com.

This program is funded in part by Chapman Cultural Center, its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg, and the South Carolina Arts Commission that receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.

 

#

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.

 

#

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.

#