Local service clubs are joining the international grassroots effort to fight hunger by hosting the inaugural Gonzales Community Empty Bowl Project. Scheduled for March 5 at the Gonzales Elks Lodge from 5-8 p.m., the Empty Bowl Project has evolved into a nationwide and international effort to eliminate hunger. It has taken root in every state in the United States and has spread to 14 other countries. The movement began back in 1919, when a Michigan high school art project decided to make bowls out of pottery, then fill the bowls with soup accompanied by bread. For buying the soup and meal, the bowls were given to the purchasers as a reminder that not everyone in this life always has a full bowl of soup or food on their table.
The movement spread to Texas and Empty Bowl projects have been going on in Austin for 24 years, San Antonio 20 years, Dripping Springs 23 years and Victoria for the last 16.
The idea to bring the project to Gonzales germinated with Red Hen Pottery owner Leah Ford of Belmont. One night while holding a class at the Red Hen, Ford mentioned her idea to Greg McLain, who was attending the class.
“I make a lot of bowls for other communities that host the Empty Bowl Project,” Ford said to McLain. “I think we should do it right here in our community — we have enough organizations to make this happen here.”
McLain brought the idea back to the Gonzales Noon Lions service committee, and the idea was enthusiastically and unanimously approved. After the full club approved the project, it was full speed ahead.
The committee immediately decided to name Meals on Wheels and GCAM as the beneficiaries. Committee members were appointed various tasks and the project moved forward. The Elks Lodge agreed to let the project use their facility, so the date of March 5 was chosen as the first-ever Gonzales Empty Bowl project.
Other club members solicited area businesses for soup, and an effort was made to secure rolls to go along with the meal. The way the evening will go is simple. Over 350 soup bowls will be on display at the Elks Lodge. People who attend will pay $20 at the door, and then will be able to select which pottery soup bowl they would like to use. After choosing their bowl (which they get to keep), they can choose what soup they would like and will be given some fresh baked rolls provided by Gonzales Healthcare Systems. A drink and dessert are also included. Soup is being provided by La Bella Tavola, Running M, St. George Deli & Coffee Shop, The Farmer’s Daughter, GG Steaks & Spirits, Cow Palace, Johhny’s Cajun Café and Yang’s.
“No one should ever go hungry,” said Kris McLain, the chairperson of the Gonzales Noon Lions Club Service Committee. “We hope the community comes out and supports this worthwhile cause. They can join us inside the Elks where music will be playing and there will be a cash bar, or they can do take out.”
Tickets are available at the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce or can be purchased from any Lions Club member or by calling Kris McLain at 830-262-1114.