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UT Martin Empty Bowls Host Pick-Up Day

Students, alumni and professors of UT Martin gather for the 17th Annual Martin Empty Bowls pick-up day. (Back, L to R) Arail MacDonald, Robert Hatcher, Donna McBeth, Ashley Thomas and David McBeth, (Front, L to R) Ilena Gormley, Rachel Roberts, Sarah Haig and Kelsey Faith.

MARTIN (November 22) – Members of the Weakley County community came to pick up their hand-crafted ceramic bowls at the UT Martin Fine Arts building as part of a fight to end hunger and food insecurity in the area.

Despite this year’s Empty Bowls Project fundraiser being held virtually this year, 500 bowls were sold, raising more than $7,500 for families in need through WE CARE Ministries of Martin.

McBeth stated that this year he saw a significant decrease in the number of bowls purchased and donations given compared to last year. In 2019 Martin Empty Bowls was able to raise more than $13,500 for WE CARE Ministries.

Despite a drop in numbers, McBeth, who has organized the fundraising event for 17 years, said he is grateful for all of the support.

“I greatly appreciate the community to support this project in a dire time of need. It’s not about the bowls or what I can do, but what the community can do about the hungry and support to WE CARE,” McBeth said.

This year’s event drew a number of out-of-state orders, including some from California. McBeth was pleased people from outside of Weakley County were able to participate in this year’s event to help support this local effort. He also said an online option purchase for bowls might become a new addition to the Martin Empty Bowls Project next year.

While there are no definite plans yet, McBeth stated he has thought about postponing the spring Cups for a Cure event, which raises money towards cancer research. It could be postponed to later in the spring and might be a combined Empty Bowls and Cups for a Cure event to help make up for lost funds to WE CARE.

The deadline to order bowls for this year’s Empty Bowls project has also been extended to this Thursday, November 24, with pick-up planned for Friday, November 25. There are 150 bowls still available for purchase. They can be viewed and ordered online at

This is the 17th Year for the Martin Empty Bowls event, which was founded by UT Martin professor and potter David McBeth in 2003. He, along with other area potters make handmade bowls, which are sold for $15 each with all donations going towards WE CARE Ministries’ Food Pantry. This is to help fight hunger in the community and raise awareness of food insecurity in Northwest Tennessee.

UT Martin professor David McBeth hands an order of handmade bowls to a local Weakley County resident for the Empty Bowls project with money going to support a local non-profit organization.

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