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FHS fills ‘Empty Bowls’

Farragut High School’s National Arts Honor Society held its eighth annual Empty Bowls fund-raiser Friday, Feb. 27, at FHS Library.

Empty Bowls began in 1991 when a Michigan art teacher, looking for a creative way to get his students involved in a local food drive, came up with the concept of having the students make handmade bowls to use in a fundraising meal of soup and bread.

FHS art teacher Wendie Love said, “He invited all the faculty to a simple meal of soup and bread and at the end he surprised them and said they should take home the bowls they had eaten out of as a way to remember there are empty bowls all over the world.

“That one event has become perpetually occurring and international … from just one person’s idea,” she added.

Love’s students spent weeks making the bowls for the event.

“Making a bowl from start to finish takes weeks. You squish the clay into shapes and let it dry for 24 hours. Then you have to fire it, which is another 24 hours. It comes out of the kiln and you have to apply the glaze. The glaze has to dry for 24 hours, then it goes into the kiln and that has to fire for 24 hours, and then when it comes out it is ready,” Love said

“So if you ask ‘How long does it take to make a bowl?’ and you just mean the squishing out part or the construction time … 20 minutes for most of these kids, maybe 30 if they are really into it, but the completed bowl takes weeks,” she added.

The students not only construct the bowls, they help make the soup and bread, they serve the soup and sell the tickets to the event.

“The ticket is a donation. In exchange you get to take home the bowl you eat out of. People pick out the bowl they want and then they come and have a meal of soup and bread and we have music and we will have a demonstration of a story called ‘The Dragon doesn’t Live Here Anymore.’ It is a fictional story about a group of people who had spoons that were too large to reach their mouths and they learned to feed each other,” Love said.

The proceeds from the event will go to Love Kitchen.

“One hundred percent of the donations go to feed the hungry in our area,” Love said.

“The man who started it had two requests. One was that you maintain the title Empty Bowls and the other was that 100 percent of the profits go back to feed the hungry locally.

“Usually we raise about $1,000 and we take it to the Love Kitchen downtown and give it to Helen [Ashe, director] and Ellen [Turner, manager],” she added.

The Love Kitchen provides meals, clothing and emergency food packages to homebound, homeless and unemployed persons.

It’s motto is “Everybody is God’s Somebody,” and its mission is to provide meals, secure used clothing and donate services in the hope of promoting self-sufficiency in those it serves.

Love Kitchen has no paid staff and 100 percent of all donations go to those in need.

Turner and Ashe, twin sisters, said they feel the concept of the Love Kitchen always has been with them in the ideals instilled by their parents. Most importantly, the three “truths” they said their father taught them — “Never take the last piece of bread, someone may come by in need of it. There is only one race, the human race. And there is only one father and that is the Father in Heaven.”

Love Kitchen welcomes all volunteers. Information on volunteering can be found at

Donations of food items used to stock the pantry shelves and monetary donations are used to ward operational needs such as utilities and maintenance. Both are welcome. Information on different ways to donate also can be found on the Love Kitchen’s Web site.

For more information on Empty Bowls, visit


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