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The goals of Memphis Empty Bowls Project are threefold:

1. Raising awareness about food insecurity in our city

2. Raising funds and publicity for local organizations committed to fighting hunger

3. Encouraging our community to experience creativity as an act of compassionate service to our neighbors

Many residents of Memphis and Shelby County struggle to obtain enough healthy food for themselves and their families. There is a critical relationship between social and economic components of society and the ability to eat and access healthy, fresh food. 



Art teacher John Hartom initiated the project in 1990 when he 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 fundraising meal of soup and bread. Contributing guests kept the empty bowls.


The concept spread quickly. There are Empty Bowls' events staged by ceramic and other artists all over Tennessee, the United States, and beyond. Empty Bowls is now an international effort to raise funds for charities that support the hungry and homeless.  Many millions of dollars have been raised and donated to hunger fighting organizations.


In 2011, Memphis was singled out as the most food insecure city in America. Jaime Winton, artist and philanthropist with a heart for food insecurities, certainly saw the need to fill empty bowls in Memphis and sought out initiatives for change. Memphis Empty Bowls Project's first event was in 2012. The 2019 event marks the 6th Memphis Empty Bowls Project's event in the city. 

2012 Memphis Empty Bowls Project 

Sunday, November 11, 2012 

@ Church Health Center Wellness (Formerly on 1115 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN)

2014 Memphis Empty Bowls Project

Sunday, May 18, 2014

@ Church Health Center Wellness (Formerly on 1115 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN)

2015 Memphis Empty Bowls Project

Sunday, November 8, 2015

@ Church Health Center Wellness (Formerly on 1115 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN)

2016 Memphis Empty Bowls Project

Sunday, November 13, 2016

@ Church Health Center Wellness (Formerly on 1115 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN)

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