Are you headed to #EmptyBowlsNaples this weekend? This is my first year attending the event and so I’ve been going around asking some questions. Thought I would share the answers with you!
1. What is Empty Bowls: Naples?
Empty Bowls: Naples is a fundraiser for the Harry Chapin Food Bank (HCFB). Volunteers have been making unique bowls since last year’s event ended. Local restaurants donate soup and bread to serve to attendees. When you donate $15, you receive a bowl to fill with soup during the event. The bowl is yours to keep as a reminder of our neighbors that experience food insecurity and sometimes face going home at night to an empty bowl.
2. How long has EBN partnered with HCFB?
This will be the ninth year. It was started by Donna Torrance, the pottery teacher at Barron Collier High School. Last year a record-setting $60,000 was raised for HCFB, and the food bank was able to distribute $360,000 worth of food to Southwest Floridians in need.
3. What time should people come?
People begin lining up very early in the morning. You are welcome to do that. However, the event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and I’ve been told that by 11:30 a.m. there isn’t much of a line, so that’s my plan. While each restaurant provides 10 gallons of soup, favorites will go fast, and there are over 2,500 bowls that are constantly being replenished by volunteers.
4. What is the best part of the day?
From eating delicious soup, seeing (maybe bidding) on amazing works of art in the silent auction and enjoying the music, there is more than enough to enjoy for the entire event. There will be a new area called The Boutique, where you can purchase handmade pottery at very reasonable prices. You can also meet many of the well-known and extremely talented artists from the Naples area and watch a dozen potters as they are throwing pots for next year’s event.
5. With 49 soups, which are said to be the favorites?
Everyone has different opinions. There are just too many to choose from! Since a cold front is coming, you might want to go for some of the “comfort” soups like Creamy Chicken Corn, Baked Potato and Bacon or Three Meat Stew. I’m bringing guests that aren’t lucky enough to live in Florida that are planning on trying Olde Marco Chowder, Conch Chowder and Fisheries Seafood Soup. There are many choices for vegetarians as well: leek and potatoes, camembert mushroom and roasted tomato bisque will be at the top of my list.
6. Special tip for newcomers?
Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. Empty Bowls: Naples accepts both cash and checks. All of the money raised will go to the Harry Chapin Food Bank, and with each $1 raised, the food bank can distribute $6 worth of food.
Hope to see you there! For more information on the event, go to the Empty Bowls: Naples website: www.emptybowlsnaples.org.