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Empty Bowls fundraiser returns for 13th year in Paducah

Empty Bowls Project of Paducah

Local artisans and restaurants are once again combining forces to raise money for Paducah’s Community Kitchen, a western Kentucky nonprofit ministry that addresses food insecurity among other issues.

Launched locally in 2010 by artist Michael Terra and his family, the Empty Bowls Project of Paducah allows donors to fill bowls handmade by area artisans with food from local restaurants. The project – originally created by a Michigan art teacher in the 1990s – is one of several such fundraisers to feed the hungry across the country.

Over the course of its 13-year history in Paducah, the artist and volunteer-led effort has contributed more than $200,000 towards Community Kitchen’s efforts to end food insecurity.

Terra said the event’s success over the past 13 years speaks to Paducah’s giving spirit.

“When somebody is able to voice a need, this is the type of community where people step up and do what they can,” he said. “At the very, very heart of all of this is that our prosperity allows us to share. That's the heart of it. There's enough to share.”

Community Kitchen provides public transportation expenses, free laundry facilities and counseling expenses, in addition to other services.

Terra said this year’s attendees will be treated to more than just hand-crafted bowls and local eats. It will also feature a “strolling troubadour” as area musician Rick Ahearns serenades the volunteers and donors while they wait in line.

Bowls can be purchased and filled at the Julian Carroll Convention Center in downtown Paducah from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $18 dollars.

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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