Austin Empty Bowl Project helps fight hunger

Kris Asthalter, Co-Director of the Austin Empty Bowl Project says for more than 20 years on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, folks have lined up outside the Central Texas Food Bank to be the first to pick out a bowl and sample gourmet soup.

"I think it fits Austin really beautifully. Austin likes the arts, they like good food and I think they like getting together. So it meets all that plus it gives back to the community," Asthalter says. "The cold weather today is perfect. Everyone is getting their jackets out and they're thinking about Thanksgiving.” 

But it's about much bigger than bundling up and eating soup. You see, the bowl is empty before you buy it. Organizers of the Empty Bowl project says it's intentional, to spread awareness.

Asthalter says, "The whole idea behind the Empty Bowl project is you're buying an empty bowl to remind you that people have empty bowls. We have a lot of people in Central Texas who don't have enough to eat so think about that and be as generous as you can."

One in six people in Central Texas are at risk of hunger. The Austin tradition benefits the food bank's Kids Café Program and Meals on Wheels Central Texas' meals for kids - making sure the whole community is fed year round.

FOX 7 Austin is a proud sponsor and as some of our very own was there to serve soup, greet excited guests, and spread some holiday joy. About 2500 people made it to this year's annual family event.

Various groups from all over the capital city individually painted these bowls with a unique design. Some of those bowls - were auctioned off. For a $25 donation, folks bought one and chose a soup to taste.

Derrick Chubbs President/CEO of Central Texas Food Banks says each dollar they raise, it equates to four meals.

"Over the years Austin Empty Bowl Project has produced over 700 to 800,000 meals for children,” he adds.