NASHUA - Guests can sample soups from local chefs while supporting the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter at the annual Empty Bowls event at Nashua High School South, Feb. 17.
Empty Bowls is a collaborative endeavor between local businesses, the National Art Honor Society and the Nashua School District to raise money for the shelter. Hosted in Nashua for the past two decades, this year Nashua students created more than 700 glazed clay bowls for the occasion.
The way it works is that participants purchase $15 tickets ahead of time, either at the shelter - located at 2 Quincy St. - at the Nashua High School South Main Office or online for an additional $1. Children younger than 5 are free.
The day of the event, ticket holders pick out a clay bowl at the high school and queue up to try soup and fresh baked bread. Student volunteers will be on hand to wash bowls between servings.
A long list of local businesses from across the Greater Nashua area have volunteered to make soup, said Carol Weeks, community outreach manager for the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter.
Weeks listed the businesses, including Alpine Grove in Hollis, the City Room Cafe and MT's Local in Nashua, the Common Man and Homestead restaurants of Merrimack and Giorgio's of Milford, to name a few. "They have all committed to make five gallons of soup each," she said.
Weeks said the broad support from restaurants is typical, but very appreciated. "It gives us a greater variety for the soup, because even if two restaurants make the same soup, it will still be different because they have different chefs," she said. Breads and beverages are available too.
The South Jazz Band will provide music for the event under the direction of Tony Courounis, and a silent auction featuring artwork and donations from local businesses will be held in the foyer. Checks and credit cards will be accepted for the silent auction.
Guests take home their bowls the end of the evening.
"I grew up in this community and I grew up as a child (who) was very poor, and I knew what it was like being hungry," said Robin Peringer at the 2015 event. Peringer is the visual arts coordinator in the Nashua School District and lead organizer for Empty Bowls in Nashua.
Weeks said the event typically raises $10,000 for the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter. This is also the first year tickets have been available online, she said. To purchase tickets or make a donation, visit bit.ly/1NGKqmx.
The event is organized by the National Art Honor Society.
The international grassroots movement to feed the hungry began 25 years ago, launched by North Carolina-based nonprofit organization, Imagine Render. More information about the Empty Bowls Project is online, www.emptybowls.net.
Empty Bowls events have sold out in the past, and Weeks recommended buying a ticket sooner rather than later.
Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402, tforbes@nashuatelegraph. com or @Telegraph_TinaF.