Member Profile: Marion Polk Food Share and Empty Bowls Fundraiser

October 01, 2019

Posted: October 1, 2019

Thanks to Marion Polk Food Share, an independent nonprofit agency, this month more than 46,000 people — including 15,000 children in Marion and Polk counties — will access food through a shelter, community meal site, church, or food pantry.

Since 1987, Marion Polk Food Share (the Food Share) has led the fight to end hunger in Marion and Polk counties by coordinating a network of 100 partner agencies to disburse food to those in need. For the last 12 years, the Willamette Art Center has held one of the largest community fundraisers for the Food Share. The Empty Bowls sale raised over $20,000 in 2018. “We are so appreciative for the donation we receive from the Empty Bowl sale. We’re grateful to have such a committed partner,” says Savannah Langdon, Food Share Donor Engagement Manager.

Each year over 1,200 one of a kind bowls are created for the event. Pam Baldwin, Salem Electric member and artist participates because, “it’s incredibly satisfying, it’s provided over $200,000 for the Food Share, and it gives the community an opportunity to buy beautiful handmade bowls while benefitting the hungry in our community. We throw bowls all year long at clay-a-thons! It’s great fun and brings potters together to inspire fresh ideas and techniques. We laugh, we snack, and we throw, throw, throw all for a great cause.”

This year’s sale starts Saturday, November 16, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and runs through Sunday, November 17, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Willamette Art Center located at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, 1820 Silverton Road NE. Enter through the yellow gate; the center is located to the left. All proceeds directly benefit the Food Share.

To volunteer or for more information, visit or call 503-581-3855. Potters interested in volunteering visit or call 541-621-0205.

Potter Pam Baldwin
Salem Electric member Pam Baldwin creates a bowl for the sale.