To challenge food insecurity, a diverse group of Paducah stakeholders and advocates assemble every year for the Empty Bowls Project of Paducah Throwathon.
Michael Terra created the Empty Bowls Project of Paducah more than a decade ago. On Saturday, he met with community volunteers at the Paducah School of Art and Design at West Kentucky Community and Technical College for the annual Throwathon.
“A big part of the throwathon is to give anybody in the community who is inspired a chance to do something more than just come and eat a lot of food at the Empty Bowls event,” Terra said. “It gives people a chance to do something with their own hands and contribute in a meaningful way.”
Evin Dubois, PSAD assistant professor of Sculpture/ 3D and One Book Read Empty Bowls Project coordinator, said those who need it most benefit from the community program. Dubois worked side-by-side with Terra leading technical tutorials and welcoming ceramicists to the space Saturday.
“Saturday was so well organized that every person who came in got a lot of attention,” Terra told The Sun. “They felt seen, and felt like they were contributing, and that’s the experience we want them to have.”
He aims to make at least 1,000 more stoneware clay bowls before the annual Empty Bowls event on Aug. 27 at the Paducah-McCracken Convention & Expo Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In 2021, the Empty Bowls event was not hosted in person, instead, it was a drive-up format because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proceeds from the bowl sales benefit The Community Kitchen, Terra’s personal choice.
Since 2012, the Kitchen has partnered with Terra and the Empty Bowls Project to raise awareness about food-vulnerable populations in Paducah.
Fighting hunger is one hole the Kitchen plugs, said Terri Osucha, administrative director.
Three-hundred and sixty-five days a year, the Kitchen is open to the public. Besides serving meals, the Kitchen offers numerous resources and services.
“We want people to be successful and hopefully help them grow,” Osucha said. “It has become so much more since 2012.”
The services continue to diversify, she explained. Among them are rental assistance, utility assistance, healthcare, and transportation assistance.
Offering critical care like emergency dental work or automobile repairs is a part of the Kitchen’s ministry.
“We just plug the holes where there isn’t help,” Osucha said.
West Kentucky Community and Technical College One Book Read 2021-2022 book, Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation, is an anthology that explores food insecurity and homelessness themes.
Several issues of the book were raffled during the Throwathon, offering an educational component to the community program and conversation.
Empty Bowls Project was originally formed in Michigan in 1990.