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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

9th Annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser

Warm up with a bowl of soup at this inspiring event to help combat hunger

By Jillian Chandler

Empty Bowls Fundraiser Gig Harbor

2024 marks the ninth year of Empty Bowls, a community event in which Altrusa Gig Harbor partners not only with area artisans and restaurants but is fortunate to work with Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club of Gig Harbor as well to raise funds to fight hunger in our community. This year’s event takes place from 11am to 2pm on March 2 at Chapel Hill Church.

The concept of Empty Bowls is straightforward and humbling: Purchase a handmade bowl and enjoy a simple meal of soup and bread, then take your bowl home as a reminder of the empty bowls in our community.

“Our mission is to improve our community through leadership and service, which explains why Empty Bowls is such an important and positive part of what we do,” affirms Nancy Hohenstein, Altrusa president.

More than 50 local potters contribute their time and talent year-round to supply the beautiful bowls, and Nancy is hopeful to have up to 1,000 bowls this year. She adds that Bayside Animal Lodge has donated over 100 pet bowls to be sold along with the “people” bowls this year. To fill these bowls, Nancy anticipates a variety of soups from at least 10 local restaurants. (Those who would like to donate a bowl (or bowls), or restaurants who would like to provide a soup, Nancy asks that you contact Altrusa through their website,, or email her directly at

Last year’s event saw close to 500 people turn out to show their support, and Nancy says they are preparing to surpass last year’s numbers. She encourages the public to attend, noting the opportunity for them to purchase a specially crafted bowl—primarily pottery, though there are often wood and glass creations—from one of Gig Harbor’s talented artisans, paired with the chance to enjoy savory soups created, donated and served by our generous local restaurants.

The cost to attend is the price of purchasing a bowl, with bowls starting at $10 each and increasing from there. The purchase of a bowl includes up to two servings of soup along with fresh bread and water; “a simple meal of soup and bread to remind us of how fortunate we are and how some right here in our community are not,” Nancy reflects.

Last year, Altrusa Foundation granted nearly $30,000 to six organizations—FISH Food Bank, Food Backpacks 4 Kids, The Red Barn, The Boys & Girls Club, Key Peninsula Community Services, and Harbor Hope—with all funds designated for hunger relief.

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