By Gordon Lambie
After a surprising success as a lawn sale in 2020, Lennoxville’s annual empty bowls fundraiser is returning in its pandemic-adapted form this fall.
“We’re back with empty, Empty Bowls again,” said organizer Lucy Doheny with a chuckle, sharing that although the original model of the Empty Bowls events was to offer a simple soup meal in order to raise funds for local hunger-fighting organizations, the sale format actually ended up making more money with less overall work.
Beyond the simplicity of just making and selling bowls though, the potter said that she also feels that selling the bowls without anything inside of them helps to underline the message that no one should have to go hungry.
“This way they really are empty,” she said, adding that in the past people’s support tended to dwindle after the meal ran out of soup.
While not 100 per cent certain of the date yet, Doheny said that she is aiming to hold the sale of bowls around the second week of November.
The Empty Bowls movement is an international grassroots initiative that dates back to the 1990s and pairs potters with organizations that work to prevent hunger on the local level within communities.
Some version of the event has been taking place in Lennoxville since 2013, with recent editions raising as much as $7,500 per year for causes like the Cornerstone Food Bank, the Lennoxville Elementary School Breakfast Program, and the Bishop’s/Champlain pastoral fund for students in need.
In addition to the hundreds of bowls that she has been making for this year’s edition, Doheny also welcomed the support of North Hatley artist Alan Gerrish.
“He is probably one of the best potters we’ve ever worked with and he’s made 100 bowls,” she said.
Although the event’s simple soups have not returned in 2021, Doheny said that she is back to the point where she is comfortable inviting a few people in to her studio on Moulton Hill road to help decorate the bowls before they are glazed. She will be at work on them this coming Sunday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“I have about 250 to glaze over the next three weeks,” she said.