About Empty Bowls

Empty-Bowls-Throwback

Empty Bowls is an event that began as a grassroots effort to feed the hungry in Michigan 25 years ago. Founded by Lisa Blackburn and Art teacher John Hartom in 1990 when they joined a drive to raise charitable funds in his Michigan community. Hartom’s idea was to organize a charitable event to give artists and art students a way to make a personal difference.

Hartom’s students made ceramic bowls in their high school art classes. The finished products were then used as individual serving pieces for a fund-raising meal of soup and bread. Contributing guests kept the empty bowl. During the next year, Hartom and other participants developed this concept into “Empty Bowls”. The Imagine/RENDER Group, a 501(c)3 organization, was then created to promote the project.

A quarter century later, Empty Bowls has grown to an innumerable number of events all over the country.  Today, a new generation draws inspiration from the original creators of this powerful event.  Every year, hundreds of communities combine art and passion to fight hunger in their cities, on their campuses, in the schools, and across their neighborhoods.

Butler County United Way is proud to be a part of this amazing legacy.  All funding and expenditures for events held throughout Butler County will flow through Butler County United Way as a 501(c)3 organization to ensure accountability and appropriate distribution of funds to Butler County food outlets.