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Empty Bowls Celebrates 20 Years in Boise

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The line for Empty Bowls 2016 wrapped around the Grove Plaza. - CHRISTINE DWELLO, IDAHO FOOD BANK
  • Christine Dwello, Idaho Food Bank
  • The line for Empty Bowls 2016 wrapped around the Grove Plaza.

















For two decades, people from all over the Treasure Valley have lined up on the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy locally made soup in handcrafted bowls, and this Friday, November 24, will be no exception.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Boiseans can head to Grove Plaza for the 20th annual Empty Bowls event, where they’re invited to buy a bowl and the gourmet soup to fill it, with proceeds going to provide food to local families in need. After purchasing, guests can take a seat at one of the many tables set up around the Christmas tree in the center of the plaza to enjoy their soup.

There will be more than 2,000 bowls to choose from at Empty Bowls, with colorful offerings similar to those from 2016. - CHRISTINE DWELLO, IDAHO FOOD BANK
  • Christine Dwello, Idaho Food Bank
  • There will be more than 2,000 bowls to choose from at Empty Bowls, with colorful offerings similar to those from 2016.

The event is hosted by the Idaho Food Bank, which is

looking to raise $40,000 this year, approximately $7,000 more than in 2016. Every dollar is equivalent to five meals, so those funds would provide more than 200,000 meals to hungry Idaho families. 


Groups from the community have been gathering at Piggy Pigs Pottery and Ceramica throughout the year to hand-paint bowls for the event, and pricing for their creations will start at $10. There will be more than 2,000 options to choose from, including artisan vessels that cost a bit more.

Continuing the smorgasbord of choices, participants will get to choose from six soups, including seafood and chowder options as well as vegetarian and gluten free sensations to cater to restrictive diets. The soup will be provided by top chefs from 28 local restaurants, including Lucky Fins, Alavita and Zee’s Rooftop Cafe.

Christine Dwello, the corporate and community relations manager for Idaho Food Bank, said that a big turnout is expected each year.

“I get a lot of comments from people who have attended that it’s become a family tradition, you’re standing in line with your friends and family and you’re doing something great for the community,” Dwello said.

After the event, any leftover soup is taken to the Boise Rescue Mission to help buoy spirits and fill stomachs this season.

“We’re trying to raise enough [through events] for one million meals this holiday season,” Dwello said.


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