Empty Bowls, A Fundraiser to Fight Hunger and Feed Hope, Returns to the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center

  • Rikki Mioduski
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Empty Bowls 2023, Saturday, March 4

Interfaith Community Services (ICS) is pleased to announce Empty Bowls 2023, the organization’s largest annual fundraiser. The 12th annual event will be held on Saturday, March 4 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 W. River Road. Tickets are $25 each.

Attendees enjoy signature soups, breads and desserts donated by local restaurants and food partners, participate in a silent auction and raffle, and select a beautiful handmade pottery bowl—made and donated by a local artist—to keep.

Empty Bowls is a community event showcasing the work of dozens of local clay artists and restaurants. Potters are creating and donating more than 1,500 unique handmade bowls that will act as powerful reminders of those struggling with hunger in the Tucson area. Food vendors feed event attendees, allowing people from all over the community to sit down and share food together.

The event will also include a silent auction filled with jewelry and accessories, artwork, home décor, experiences and more. Ticket holders will have the opportunity to preview auction items online in the week prior to the event. Anyone, whether they have a ticket or not, can support ICS by bidding in the online auction, which will open to the public on March 3 and close at 1 p.m. on March 4 when winning bids are announced.

During the event, attendees can enjoy live pottery demonstrations by participating artists and enter a raffle to win restaurant gift cards, gift baskets, and more. Musical entertainment will be provided by bluegrass band Ocotillo Rain.

Proceeds from Empty Bowls benefit ICS food banks and other services to help individuals and families throughout Southern Arizona. “Working on this incredible event and being able to watch ICS in action has been inspirational. Lives are being enriched every day,” says Sylvia Buchanan, ICS volunteer and chair of the Empty Bowls event. “Thanks to the dedication of more than 120 volunteers and the support of the Tucson community, we have been able to considerably grow every year. We are raising funds to combat food insecurity and many other challenges.” Last year the food banks, in partnership with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, fed more than 16,000 households. ICS served nearly 56,000 individuals throughout Pima County with short-term assistance and long-term support programs.

Services provided by ICS go well beyond emergency food assistance. Emergency Financial Assistance helps prevent eviction and utility disruption for individuals and families. A suite of self-sufficiency programs supports participants as they move from crisis to stability and financial independence. They receive help with financial literacy, finding a better job, finishing a college degree, and more.

Senior services at ICS provide mobile meals, transportation to medical appointments and shopping, social interaction, and other supports that allow older and disabled adults to continue to live independently in their own homes. Finally, community health outreach provides learning opportunities focused on mental and emotional well-being and their impacts on self-sufficiency.

“Empty Bowls is not only an essential fundraiser that allows ICS to bring relief and support to thousands of people in our community,” says ICS CEO Tom McKinney. “It is also an embodiment of what ICS is and what we stand for. Volunteerism, giving, partnership and community come together for the purpose of helping people in need achieve stability and independence.”

Visit icstucson.org/empty-bowls for more information.

Empty Bowls 2023 is presented by The Sundt Foundation, Tucson Electric Power Company, and Judy Weill in memory of Dick Weill.