There’s never been an Empty Bowls Project event quite like number 10.
The United Food Bank of Plant City’s annual fundraiser came back downtown on Nov. 14 and did look largely like usual. Attendees could still relax at the train depot with a hot cup of soup prepared by 24 local organizations and churches, enjoy live musicby Larry Clark and Ace Jackson and the Jump Kings, place bids in the auction and take home handcrafted clay bowls made by students at 19 Hillsborough County public schools. The sidewalk chalk art also returned and this year featured an “interactive mosaic” designed by artist Leigh Alfredson and finished by people who signed up on-site. With a donation of either $1 or one can of soup, people could get in on the action and draw in their own square surrounding Alfredson’s drawing of a child holding an empty bowl.
But this year also required people to observe social distancing guidelines, take advantage of hand sanitizer stations scattered around the depot and, if they wished, get their soups to go. The biggest new addition for 2020 was the drive-through in the adjacent parking lot on the north side of the depot. All drivers had to do was pull up, place their order and they’d be out of there in no time without having to worry about getting stuck in a big crowd.
Seven local artists, as well as the 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court, painted nine bowls that were auctioned off at the event. One of the artists, Lesli Platt, also designed this year’s t-shirts. Anyone who wants to buy a shirt can pick one up for $10 at the United Food Bank, 702 E. Alsobrook St.