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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

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8th Annual Empty Bowls to raise funds to fight hunger By Jillian Chandler

Empty Bowls Fundraiser

When Altrusa completed its pledge to raise $100,000 to equip a community kitchen at the Boys & Girls Club in 2013, they moved on to finding ways to utilize that kitchen for the community’s benefit. “At that time, when schools were in operation, kids from families who were struggling to put food on the table depended on free and reduced-price lunch for one or two meals a day,” says Nancy Hohenstein, Altrusa board member and past president. “But during the summer, there were no meals. Empty Bowls was first started to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club to provide a summer lunch program for hungry kids.”

This year marks the eighth year of the Empty Bowls fundraiser, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 4, at Chapel Hill Church (7700 Skansie Avenue). The event draws approximately 500 attendees each year, with 800 or more pottery glass and sometimes wooden bowls, and soups from at least nine participating restaurants.

In addition to the beautiful handcrafted bowls and delicious soups and bread, there will be a pottery demo by one of the organizers of the potters group that has committed to creating the bowls, and Peninsula Youth Orchestra will provide live music. At the 2022 event, some of the kids who attended the event had the opportunity to make their own bowls on a real potter’s wheel. This year there will be raffle items donated by local vendors and craftspeople.

“Altrusa will have information on its opportunities for membership as well as information from the groups who have, in past years, received grants from the Altrusa Foundation of Gig Harbor for their food and feeding programs: FISH Food Bank, Food Backpacks 4 Kids, the Boys & Girls Club, Harbor Hope, The Red Barn, among others,” adds Nancy.

She encourages the community to attend this wonderful event. “The people who come [not only] receive a simple meal of delicious soup and bread … but they go home with an artisan-created bowl knowing they are helping feed someone else, maybe from their own neighborhood [who is] silently experiencing hunger.”

While Altrusa organizes the event, there are up to 38 potters in the group who create the bowls. Members of Rotary and Kiwanis volunteer to set up and serve, and at least nine restaurants and bakeries contribute. “It is truly a community effort,” smiles Nancy. For those who would like to attend, all you have to do is show up and purchase a bowl (bowls start at $15). Kids under 12 eat free. The full amount of the net proceeds is granted through the Altrusa Gig Harbor Foundation to nonprofits to provide food relief for children and families experiencing hunger within our community.

For artists who would like to donate a bowl (or bowls), or restaurants who would like to provide a soup, please reach out through Altrusa’s website,

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