SIGNAL PEAK — Central Arizona College’s annual Empty Bowls event is more than a chance to eat delicious soup. It’s also a time to raise awareness and money to fight hunger in the community.

For 17 years, CAC has hosted the fundraiser in which attendees receive a handmade ceramic bowl filled with soup. The event combines the talents of the school’s visual and culinary arts departments.

CAC ceramists make food-safe stoneware bowls for the event, which are sold to attendees. The school’s culinary arts students will prepare three soups, rolls and a variety of dessert bunt cakes with mousse fillings.

Attendees pay a minimum donation of $10 when they enter the event.

“All funds raised are donated to three food banks — St. Vincent de Paul, Warehouse Food Pantry and Casa Grande Food Bank,” said Lori Towne, CAC community events coordinator.

Empty Bowls is a grassroots program started in Michigan in 1990 to help fight hunger. Since CAC adopted the concept 17 years ago, it’s become a community event, attracting students, faculty, staff and area residents and raising thousands of dollars to fight hunger.

As they enter the event, attendees select a handmade bowl. They fill it with soup, then after the event, they keep it as a reminder that there are “always empty bowls in the world,” Towne said.

Raffles featuring culinary event tickets, decorated ceramic pots and a variety of other items are also offered to raise additional funds.

While the CAC art and culinary departments are the stars of the show, others involved in pulling off the event — in which more than 400 bowls of soup will be served — include PBL, SkillsUSA, Marjon Inc., Laguna Clay and Barnes & Noble, Towne said.

This year, Vrana Law Firm of Tempe donated the cost of the food.

Empty Bowls is scheduled to held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 26 on the Signal Peak Campus, N. Plaza, 8470 N. Overfield Road. Tickets may be purchased with cash at the door.


Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at