How Donations are distributed:


Empty Bowls distributes more than $12,000 each year to local organizations working to end hunger and food insecurity.


How it works:


Empty Bowls allows participating artists and groups to create and donate bowls, then serve a simple meal. Guests choose a bowl to use that day and to keep as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. In exchange for the meal, and the bowl, guests contribute a suggested minimum donation. Proceeds from the bowls are devoted to local hunger-fighting organizations.



How it started:


Founded by Lisa Blackburn and Art teacher John Hartom in 1990-91 when they joined a drive to raise charitable funds in his Michigan community. Hartom's idea was to organize a charitable event to give artists and art students a way to make a personal difference. Hartom's students made ceramic bowls in their high school art classes. The finished products were then used as individual serving pieces for a fund-raising meal of soup and bread. Contributing guests kept the empty bowl. During the next year, Hartom and other participants developed this concept into Empty Bowls. Having spread across North America it has now become a global event.

Funding Guidelines and Philosophy:


The amount of money raised by Empty Bowls Perth is small in relation to the need in our community. The criteria for funding priorities reflect the mission of the project and the principles upon which it is founded.


  • Grantees must be registered food-related charities that are direct - service providers to their constituents. Priority is given to groups in Perth and Eastern Ontario. Funding to programs operating elsewhere in Canada and abroad are also eligible depending on the level of donations from year to year

  • Priority is given to long-term programs over ad hoc emergency aid or special holiday meals

  • Since food distribution is not in itself a solution to poverty and hunger, Empty Bowls Perth favours organizations that also work to eradicate poverty and combat hunger by improving the reach and effectiveness of other resources available in the community such as child nutrition programs

  • Similarly, Empty Bowls Perth looks for organizations which are proactive in assisting those in our community who experience hunger by, for example, publishing information from time to time in the local press, or providing counselling or training aimed at longer term solutions

  • Empty Bowls Perth holds firm to the principle of inclusiveness and diversity and looks to organisations that value and abide by similar principles both in the manner in which they carry out their charitable activities and the governance of their organization

  • Organizations that proselytize or ask their clients or members to participate in any religious or political activity, and by so doing give the appearance of excluding members of the community,  would not be considered sufficiently inclusive to meet the criteria