Empty Bowls

Empty Bowls serves around 1,000 Boiseans yearly. It is the largest fundraiser for the Idaho Foodbank.

Story updated at 4:46 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29: The Idaho Foodbank is reporting 1,207 bowls of soup were served, which is an increase from previous years.

Original story:

Despite a mishap with a fallen Christmas tree, Boise’s holiday spirit was in full swing Friday afternoon, as the Idaho Foodbank’s Empty Bowls event routed a line around the block in the Oppenheimer Plaza downtown.

The event is the Idaho Foodbank’s largest fundraiser of the year, selling approximately 1,000 bowls of soup yearly. There’s no shortage of bowls, as 2,500 are typically made for the fundraiser.

“The idea is to mimic what it’s like to stand in a soup line,” said Whitney Stoolman, the corporate and community donations coordinator for the Idaho Foodbank.

The charity event’s usual location is around the Christmas tree in the Grove Plaza, but late Thursday, the tree fell from its pedestal. Still, hundreds of people gathered in line, awaiting their handmade ceramic bowls and cups of artisan soups.

Stoolman said the event typically ends at 2 p.m. because of the tree lighting. However, it will stay open until the soup is gone because the tree lighting has been postponed.

Andrew Watkins was a first timer at Empty Bowls, with his family and dog in tow. He said it was his wife’s idea to head down and check out some humanitarian efforts in Boise, which he and the family happily agreed to.

“We had heard about it for a couple of years, and I think we accidentally came across it a few years ago,” he said. “This kept on popping up and we just never really had an opportunity to go to it, but this year everything just kind of aligned and here we are.”

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