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Heroes of the Week: Milwaukee Empty Bowls Volunteers

Dec. 26, 2013
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Empty Bowls
Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Milwaukee Empty Bowls is a local, entirely volunteer-run nonprofit that uses art to increase awareness about hunger in the community and raises funds to support food pantries and meal programs. Milwaukee Empty Bowls’ annual event focuses on selling bowls created and donated by local artists while serving up soup and bread samples from dozens of local restaurants. This year, more than 3,000 bowls were available for purchase and $40,475 was raised. Overall, it’s raised more than $500,000 since 1998. The nonprofit also partnered with the Hunger Task Force and collected over 750 pounds of non-perishable food items this year.

About 95% of the funds raised by Milwaukee Empty Bowls goes directly to the recipient organizations, which include Interchange, La Causa, St. Catherine’s Food Pantry and The Gathering, to name a few. Additionally, Milwaukee Empty Bowls offers educational outreach programs for kids and adults and is working on a partnership with the Lyndon Sculpture Garden to expand instructional opportunities in the future.

“Our board members, committee members, event volunteers and artists are committed, passionate individuals who truly care about improving access to food and educating about hunger in our community,” says Milwaukee Empty Bowls board and committee member Jaimie Somlai. “Many participants, volunteers, artists and partners have attended or contributed to our annual event every year since the very first one in 1998. Hunger is something all of us can relate to, and our mission seems to touch the hearts of so many who feel fortunate and want to give back to help ensure others don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.”

Milwaukee Empty Bowls is always looking for volunteers to join committees and assist in various roles at the annual event, as well as artists to create and donate bowls. For more information, visit milwaukeeemptybowls.org, facebook.com/milwaukeeemptybowls or email info@milwaukeeemptybowls.org. For information about donating bowls, email bowls@milwaukeeemptybowls.org.


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