Friday, March 23, 2012

Empty Bowl Fundraiser

The soup kitchen, Mid City Nutrition, had their empty bowl fundraiser yesterday. This is their largest fundraiser and as Alice, the Director, says "I only do one big fundraiser a year and this is IT." My housemates and I volunteered at the event to help navigate over 300+ people, which I believe is the largest turnout they have ever had. Everyone involved was very pleased. 

One of the Serving Bowls.
Some of the empty bowls to choose from.

So what exactly is the Empty Bowl Event? Simply said, it is a meal done in the 'soup kitchen style' where people get a bread bowl filled with AMAZING soup. Alice does her famous white chili recipe once a year and for this event only along with other specialty soups. In addition to the meal, local artists donate hundreds of handmade pottery bowls to be the 'empty bowl' and everyone gets to pick out one that we wrap for them to take home. The bowls are all unique and really gives the artist a way to showcase their talents, which is very very cool. I love it when art can be integrated into things like this, plus it makes it more of a community effort.

The atmosphere of the event is FUN. They had the lively elderly man jamming out on the piano rocking out to tunes like "You are my Sunshine" and then randomly playing music from phantom of the opera? It was a HOOT. I was in the kitchen carving out bread bowls singing away. I turned to Jeremy and said, this is how it should be, we should ALWAYS sing in the kitchen. He laughed and said "well it looks like you got the moves to go with it" as I swayed side to side.

As a general rule I never really stick to one job in particular at events like this so I bounced around wrapping bowls, carving out bread bowls, participating in the silent auction, telling people about the silent auction, serving people soup, making jokes with other volunteers who have become my 'extended' family here in Port Huron. I loved it. It made me nostalgic for my days working in the restaurant business again, but only for a BRIEF and I mean very BRIEF moment.

Chicken Florentine Soup.

Jeremy preparing the bread bowls like a PRO.

There was a moment when I was serving soup when I realized this is A LOT like serving at the soup kitchen. Sure the people are different, but then again they really aren't. You still get the same sort of comments and requests from people: they can be picky, they can be funny, they can complain, they can tell you exactly how they want their soup served, they can be extremely thankful... it's all the same. Really it is. After one incident in particular I turned to Jeremy making a joke and said "This is very familiar," he laughed and said "Amanda, people are people. Sure we may be serving middle class people today, but being human remains constant across the board." I had to laugh. It's so true.
Artwork made by children for the Empty Bowl Event.

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