Empty Bowls fill souls

February 28, 2011

A simple soup bowl – and the person who donates or buys it – can alleviate hunger.

Or it can remain empty, as do the stomachs of too many people right here in Baltimore.

That’s why St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore is holding Empty Bowls 2011, its fifth annual event, which benefits all the St. Vincent de Paul programs.

Local potters, artists and schools donate decorated ceramic bowls, and even average citizens from ceramic studios such as Hot Pots contribute bowls they’ve made. At the March 12 Souper Supper, people pay $15 and choose a bowl. They also get a soup and bread meal, served in a regular bowl, with soups created by some 30 local restaurants. Children under 5 are free.

“This empty bowl symbolizes someone who has an empty bowl, someone who doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from,” Teresa Eaton, director of communications for the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Baltimore, said. “It’s a very mission-focused event. It’s a very family-friendly event, and families really like it because it educates children about homelessness and poverty.”

Empty Bowls 2011 kicks off with a Golden Ladle Reception from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on March 11, at Doyle Hall at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Tickets are $75, and include heavy hors d’oeuvres from around the world paired with beers and wines, live music, a silent auction and soup bowls handcrafted by local artists.

On March 12, two seatings are offered for the Empty Bowls Souper Supper at Doyle Hall, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Magicians, face-painting, a silent auction and games and crafts for children are on the menu as well.

Tasting the variety of soups is as much fun as choosing the bowl. Squires’ Restaurant and Catering offers cream of crab, while Linwoods serves up Maryland crab. Holy Frijoles dishes up its tortilla soup, and Little Havana ladles out a black bean soup. The Milton Inn makes cream of asparagus, and Ethel and Ramone’s brings its tomato fennel.

Both the reception and the souper suppers are popular, and advance tickets are recommended. To get tickets, call 410-662-0500, ext. 201 or visit the St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore website at http://www.vincentbaltimore.org/empty_bowls.html