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Martin Empty Bowls continues through pandemic

The University of Tennessee at Martin alumni, faculty, staff and students are preparing for the 17th annual Empty Bowls fundraiser, which will take place online Nov. 15-20.

Two UTM students, Bailey Radnitzer and Robert Hatcher, throw bowls in the ceramic studio on Nov. 5 for Empty Bowls.

Empty Bowls is a joint effort by UT Martin and We Care Ministries to fight food insecurity in the area. Patrons enjoy a soup buffet for a $15 donation, and they take the handmade ceramic bowl home.

UTM arts professor, David McBeth, brought Empty Bowls to Martin.

David McBeth throws a bowl for UT Martin's Empty Bowl fundraiser on Nov. 3, 2020 in the ceramic studio.

Its first year in Martin, McBeth brought a few hundred bowls. Since then, the event has gotten more popular.

This year, he hopes to have about 1,200 bowls.

McBeth's team raised concerns in August that an in-person format wouldn't be possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There's no way we could get a couple hundred people inside without face masks," McBeth said.

In an effort to drum up support for the virtual event, he has a goal to post on his blog every day.

McBeth is also working on a new link for his website: donations, either for We Care or to project support. The event's costs, he said, add up.

"Empty Bowls is always something I've just done... I mean, financially, but it's gotten so big that I wouldn't mind a little help," McBeth said.

The donation link isn't available yet.

According to a UTM press release, donors will receive a soup bowl for $15 or a large serving bowl for a $20 donation to We Care.

Patrons can go online to see images of available bowls starting Nov. 15. Curbside pickup will be on Sunday, Nov. 22 from 12-3 at the Fine Arts Building.

For more information about the 17th Annual Empty Bowls, visit their website or contact McBeth at 731-881-7416.

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