Empty Bowls to raise funds for Urban Ministries

Mar. 04, 2014 @ 04:47 PM

Durham restaurants will be serving up donated soups ranging from all-beef chili to butternut squash bisque to Italian wedding soup on Thursday as part of a fundraiser for Urban Ministries of Durham.
The restaurants will be competing for donation-based votes for their soups at the eighth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser presented this year by Olive & Olive P.A.
The event is a benefit for Urban Ministries of Durham. Organizers are looking to raise $60,000 for the nonprofit that provides food, shelter and other services for the homeless.
“It’s a wonderful, easy and fun way for people to help to offer food, shelter and a future to their neighbors while they have a good time,” said Bryan Gilmer, director of marketing and development for Urban Ministries. “Last year, we raised more than $50,000 at the event, and this year, we’re aiming for more than $60,000, and that’s enough to serve more than 30,000 meals at our community café.”
At the event, ticket holders will sample soups prepared by more than a dozen local restaurants and caterers. By giving donation-based votes, attendees will be able to help name the winners of the “People’s Choice” awards.
The Durham Bulls between-innings announcer, Jatovi McDuffie, will be giving guests running totals on the standings for the awards for the soups so that they can try to influence the results with a donation, according to a news release.
The light dinner is meant to be a reminder that many people in Durham do not have enough to eat, the release states.
In addition to the soup, local artists have also handcrafted more than 850 donated bowls for attendees to take home.
There will also be a panel of celebrity of judges and live jazz music.
Last year, more than 1,200 tickets were sold and the event raised more than $51,614 for Urban Ministries. Gilmer said interested attendees should buy tickets in advance. Although the event was held in larger space, he said they still had to turn people away at the door last year.
“This event has sold out each of the past three years, and last year, we moved it to the Durham Convention Center to a large space to (try to) accommodate everybody in the community who wanted to come,” Gilmer said.
For this year’s event, soup-only tickets are $20. The $40 tickets buy soup as well as bowls that can be picked after 6 p.m.
In addition, there are also limited numbers of $60 “hot” tickets, which buy soup and the opportunity to pick a bowl earlier in the evening from 5 to 5:30 p.m.
This year, there are also $100 limited-offer “premier” tickets, which buy soup and the chance to select a bowl from a special group of larger and more elaborate bowls starting at 5 p.m.
Children 6 and under attend for free.
Restaurants competing this year include: 604 West Village, Bleu Olive Mediterranean Bistro, Bull City Burger and Brewery, Bull Street Gourmet & Market, the Durham Convention Center, Guglhupf, Mad Hatter Bakeshop and Café, Mattie B’s Public House, Pizzeria Toro, Pompieri Pizza, Saladelia Café & Catering, Six Plates Wine Bar, Spicy Green Gourmet Café & Catering, Toast Paninoteca, and Watts Grocery.
The event will be held from Thursday at the Durham Convention Center at 301 W. Morgan St. in Durham.
Tickets are being sold online at emptybowls14.eventbrite.com.