Empty Bowls Project of Paducah raises money for Community Kitchen, strives to end local hunger

PADUCAH, Ky. (KBSI) – Though communities support the Empty Bowls Project all around the world, it got its start in Paducah in 2008 thanks to Michael Terra.

The fundraiser raises money for Community Kitchen, a nonprofit that helps people dealing with food insecurity in the Paducah and McCracken County areas.

But Terra said it is about more than just raising that money.

“We have an epidemic of hunger that’s invisible,” he said. “So it’s not only just about giving them some money to feed more people, but it’s also about raising the awareness that our neighbors, our friends, are in crisis.” 

At Empty Bowls, attendees purchased a ticket for $18, after which they select one of the handmade bowls provided by local artists, students and community members. They then go to any of the 20 tables set up by restaurants to fill that bowl and enjoy a tasty lunch before taking the bowl home.

One hundred percent of the proceeds go to Community Kitchen.

Kitchen Director Sally Michelson said the Paducah community’s giving nature helps make the event a glowing success year after year. 

“Paducah has always been a giving community, and during the pandemic, they were so supportive,” she said. “Even though they might not have as much as they used to either financially, they would still support our kitchen, saying, ‘I know that someone needs it worse than I do right now.’ It just shows the heart, the heart of people, the heart of giving.” 

While Empty Bowls and Community Kitchen do everything they can to give back, Terra said you can never give enough.

“Anything you can do as a grown-up in your community to help other people is something you should do,” he said. “You can’t over-give, it’s just not possible.” 

Categories: News