United Food Bank of Plant City Empty Bowls

Hello Leroy,

In 2009 the United Food Bank of Plant City was looking for a fundraiser to involve all ages in a community service project.   In brief, after reading about the Empty Bowls project, we organized a group of artists and friends, all volunteers, to plan a similar event as the original Empty Bowls, in our community.  It took us a year to gather interest from the United Food Bank Board and the community.  

This year, the Plant City Empty Bowls Team is planning the 13th annual event, and hope to raise over $20,000 for this art and lunch event that will take place on Saturday, November 11th (Veterans Day).   The Plant City Empty Bowls project takes place in downtown at the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum from 10:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m.  

The event combines music entertainment, sidewalk chalk art, and pottery  with a simple lunch of a variety of healthy soups made and donated to the event by local churches, civic organizations, and restaurants.  With a donation of $10 to the food bank, lunch tickets cover a choice of 16 ozs of soup, a bottle water, crackers, a fruit, and a clay bowl.   The clay bowls are made by students from local schools, churches, and the local YMCA Summer Camp children.

The Plant City Empty Bowls Team uses this fun event to educate students of all ages in the art of pottery making.  We invite the Principals and Art Teachers of public schools in our district to help us make the bowls.  These students ‘ bowls are used as simple reminders of all the “empty bowls” that go unfilled every day.  The art project helps us bring awareness of hunger.   We have an average of 18 elementary, middle, and high schools involved.  

In-kind and monetary donations are secured from local sponsors for the cups and lids used to serve the soups and other items needed to conduct the project.  

Also, professional artists and local celebrities, like the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court Members, Little Miss Plant City Queen and Court Members, are invited to paint large ceramic bowls and auctioned at the event.  A local auctioneer volunteers to help us at this live auction held at the lunch event.  

A professional 3D Street Painter conducts a workshop for interested high school art students to learn the art of sidewalk/street chalk drawing.  The workshop is held in October and required to participate at the event Sidewalk Chalk Art Painting.  The theme of the chalk art show is “Filling Hearts and Bowls”.  This segment of the art project continues to grow in interest by the art students.

The Plant City Empty Bowls Team is proud to work on this project and fundraiser benefitting the United Food Bank of Plant City.

Thank you for allowing us to use your art project concept and we hope, by adding our ideas to grow the project and be inclusive of all ages, we have made you proud.


Silvia Dodson

UFB Board Member/Empty Bowls Team Coordinator

United Food Bank of Plant City Empty Bowls
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