How many opportunities do you get to support a terrific cause, eat amazing food, and take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir?

I can think of one, and it’s happening November 14 in Bend.

Empty Bowls is a fund-raising event for NeighborImpact, which does great work in the community feeding the hungry and supporting programs like Head Start, energy and rent assistance, tutoring homeless kids, and more. This will be Bend’s 9th annual Empty Bowls event, and it’s happening at Central Oregon Community College’s new Campus Center.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending before, and you can bet I’ll snap up tickets early this year since it almost always sells out.

Here’s how it works: you walk in and choose from over 750 hand-crafted bowls created and donated by local potters. Then you fill your bowl again and again with delicious gourmet soups created by Chef Julian Darwin of the Cascade Culinary Institute.

My favorite treasure from a past Empty Bowls event.

There are usually four soups to choose from, including vegan and gluten-free options. Word of advice? The curried cauliflower and potato is TO DIE FOR.

Local bakers and restaurants get in on the act as well, with Flatbread Community Oven, CHOW, and Sparrow Bakery donating breads and desserts. There’s even a commemorative cookbook for sale, and tons of raffle items that support the great work NeighborImpact does in Bend.

The highlight, though, is the bowls. “The ones we have this year are beautiful,” said Sandy Klein, development specialist for NeighborImpact. “Last year’s bowls were a little smaller, but this year we’ve got some gorgeous medium to big ones.”

Personally, I’ve got a special shelf at home for the ones we’ve collected. They’re great showpieces for nuts and appetizers, and friends always ooh and ahh when I bring them out.

Want to attend? There are two seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Tickets are $18, and you can find all the details for purchasing them right here.

Just leave the prettiest bowl for me, OK? And don’t eat all the soup.

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