Natchez Stewpot fundraiser next week fights hunger one bowl at a time

Published 8:53 pm Friday, February 26, 2021

Empty Bowls will be held Sunday, March 7 from 11:30am until 1pm at the north end of Broadway in downtown Natchez.  Empty Bowls is a fundraiser for the Natchez Stewpot.

Before we speak more about the fundraiser – lets talk about the Natchez Stewpot.

Since Christmas day in 1984, the Natchez Stewpot has faithfully served meals to those that are hungry in our community – every single day of the year.  Hunger takes no holidays nor does the Natchez Stewpot.  The Stewpot serves 250 meals a day with 200 of them being delivered (via volunteers) to shut ins.  The Natchez Stewpot is literally a lifeline for many in our community.  The entire budget for the Stewpot comes from donations from generous individuals and organizations.

Empty Bowls is a local fundraiser based upon an international grassroots effort to fight hunger.  Empty Bowls events are held around the world and although each have their own format and details, they all have the same general goals.  The goal of Empty Bowls  in Natchez is to feed the hungry by:

1- raising money to support the Natchez Stewpot and

2 – to bring awareness of the hunger in our community and the organization (the Natchez Stewpot) that is feeding the hungry. 

Local potters started Empty Bowls in Natchez many years ago. These potters work all year to make handmade clay bowls that they then donate to Empty Bowls.  The local potters also manage the fundraiser.  A ticket to Empty Bowls gets you a bowl of gumbo as well as a handmade clay bowl.

What a great fundraiser! You donate your money to the stewpot (make your check out directly to the Natchez Stewpot – the Stewpot gets 100% of the money) and as a thank you, you get a bowl of great gumbo and a gift of a handmade bowl.  Often the value of the bowl is greater than the price of the ticket. 

The handmade bowl serves two purposes. It is a gift from the pottery community as a thank you for supporting the stewpot but it is also serves as a visual reminder throughout the year.  When you look at that empty bowl, we hope you will remember that there are those in our community that have empty bowls – they have nothing to eat.  The Natchez Stewpot faithfully serves those that are in need of a meal. The local pottery community has run this fundraiser for many years and it is currently hosted by the Mississippi School of Folk Arts – www.msfolkart.org. 

The Empty Bowls event is held every other year and raises significant funds for the Natchez Stewpot.  This year the format has changed to efficiently work within COVID guidelines.  The event will be completely drive through.  Start at the corner of Madison and Broadway and you will be guided from there. You will drive up and be handed a ‘to go’ container of gumbo and a bowl.  No, you will not be able to get out of your car or select a bowl, but then again, the reason you are there is to help support the great work of the Natchez Stewpot in feeding the hungry and the bowl is just a very nice handmade gift the pottery community is giving to you as a thank you for your support. 

Tickets are available at Natchez Coffee at 509 Franklin Street.  Tickets always sell out fast and are not available at the event.  If you are unable to get a ticket or you want to donate more, you are welcome to make donations at the event or by sending donations directly to the Natchez Stewpot.  You may also donate time, cook food, get involved through your church/organization, deliver meals or even make bowls for the next event.  To find out how to get more involved, please contact the Natchez Stewpot – www.natchezstewpot.com.

We thank each of you for your support of this event and more importantly of the Natchez Stewpot and hope that you will remember the hunger in our community and the Natchez Stewpot throughout the year. 

Conner Burns is a local clay artist. You can reach him at www.connerburns.com