Empty Bowls Event

Empty Bowls is an internationally-recognized event to fight hunger in communities around the United States and throughout the world. In 1990, John Hartom and Lisa Blackburn, art educators in Michigan, created Empty Bowls to connect artists with an opportunity to make a meaningful difference.

It began with a relatively simple concept: students would handcraft ceramic bowls and invite faculty to a soup lunch. In exchange for a donation, faculty could keep one of the handcrafted bowls home as a reminder that somewhere in the community someone’s bowl is empty.

Now, more than twenty years later, countless communities throughout the United States and around the world have embraced this grassroots project to fight the pervasive problem of hunger.

The Neighbors’ Place began hosting its Empty Bowls event to increase awareness around food security in Marathon County. Since then, the event has continued to grow and has raised funds to fight hunger in the community through The Neighbors' Place food pantry and basic needs programs.

Partnership and collaboration are integral to addressing critical issues like access to food and basic needs and we have experienced just how impactful it can be bringing partners together under one roof with our move to the Community Partners Campus. Our collaborations are also what make this event so special and unique to our community. This year, we have connected with local artists to offer classes to guests of The Neighbors’ Place and the Community Partners Campus at large. The needs of our community members are multifaceted, and this project serves to provide a space that promotes dignity, support and holistic wellbeing for all members of the community. Through art, we share the challenges associated with food scarcity, the power of community, and the resiliency of the human spirit


Empty Bowls 2023 is presented by:

Premium Sponsors:

Bridge Community Connexus Cares

Media Sponsors:

Wausau Pilot and review

How It Works

Empty Bowls 2023 is presented by Bridge Community Health Clinic and Connexus Cares is an annual fundraiser hosted by The Neighbors' Place as a reminder of the food insecurity faced by many in our community. .