Burien’s annual “Empty Bowls” fundraiser – held in-person on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023 after a two-year hiatus due to Covid – raised nearly $16,000 to benefit the Highline Area and White Center Food Banks.

Over 600 people attended the event, which raised a total of $15,943.

This is an annual fundraiser held at the Burien Community Center, where guests can purchase beautiful, unique ceramic bowls handmade by local Artists at the Moshier Community Arts Center, and there was a wide array of bowls ranging in size, color, and creativity.

In addition to enjoying the artistic bowls, guests enjoyed soup made by locals. Here are winners in the two categories of soup awards: 

Restaurant Soup Awards: 

  1. La Esquina Pozole Soup
  2. The Point Tuscan Artichoke Soup
  3. Azteca Gumbo Soup 

Non-restaurant Soup Awards: 

  1. Merrill Gardens Hungarian Mushroom Soup
  2. Burien Nurse and Rehab Creole Gumbo
  3. Daystar Senior Chicken Wild Rice 


Click arrows on the slideshow below to see photos by Scott Schaefer:

Volunteer’s View

As a volunteer there, my job was to greet people as they came in, direct them in the form on how to donate and answer any questions they might have. It was a straightforward and simple job but very inspiring. Many people who came in knew what the event was but others came in not knowing and were happily surprised.

It was inspiring to see donations coming in and excited faces about which organizations benefitted. To experience such a wonderful collaboration between restaurants, volunteers, bakeries, and local artists made me truly appreciate the organization behind the event and the amount of care that many put in to ensure others have enough.

I volunteer regularly at the Highline Area Food Bank and I know the money will be used positively to help families get through hard times.

The event ran through the morning into the afternoon, and reconvened after a short break to continue throughout the evening.

There was a vast amount of volunteers and the transitions and stations ran smoothly without any problems.

There was an excitement in the air for all, but mostly from the patrons of the event who have been attending for decades.

The event was paused through Covid-19 and many missed it dearly. There were two ladies who waited all morning for us to open the doors and had been looking forward to the event ever since it was announced and claimed they had a total of 20 pieces of pottery from the past 20 years of attending the event.

It’s refreshing to see a community coming together after so long being apart. I was told that it was one of the slower Empty Bowls they’ve had in the past however, now that it’s back on and people are more aware of it, perhaps next year we’ll see an even bigger turnout.

The biggest takeaway for me was to see the amount of sacrifice people were willing to make for the betterment of others. Sacrifice of their time, their monetary values, their food that they’ve spent hours upon hours making, and of course, the sacrifice from the Moshier Community Arts Center for all the spectacular pottery that they’ve spent all year making. I know many people cherish the beautiful bowls and will use in their homes for years to come.

Sometimes we forget about our community because we’re lost in the hustle and bustle of our lives, but it’s valuable to take time to figure out what we can sacrifice. Whether it be time, money, food, or anything else. Oftentimes when we make a sacrifice, we can’t be assured that it made a difference or an impact. In attending the Empty Bowls event, we can be assured that a small amount of money makes a big impact on a Food Bank that is solely driven by the community’s sacrifices. However, much or whatever we can sacrifice for the sake of our community is surely worth it because if it weren’t for Food Banks, many families and individuals would struggle more. Many of us went through hard times during Covid-19 and having compassion for others who went through harder times than us and contributing what we can has a more profound impact than we can know.

As a volunteer at the Empty Bowls event, I got to see people putting forth their compassion by giving and contributing what they can. Seeing a wide array of businesses and individuals coming together with a collective goal was an impactful experience. It was incredibly positive to see the faces of the Burien community coming together whether it was folks who have attended the event before or newcomers. I even saw many parents bringing their children along who were excited to pick out their own bowl to take home. There was one little boy who was so excited he could hardly make up his mind on which bowl to pick.

There was something for everyone at the Empty Bowls event and while it only occurs annually, we can still maintain this momentum throughout the year by giving what we can.

I hope next year has just as good of a turnout and is just as fruitful. I’m grateful to have been able to attend this year and I hope to do so the same next year.

Jordan-Jean Sharp is a writer for The B-Town Blog and was born at Highline Hospital and raised in Burien locally. She is 25-years-old and has always held a passion for writing. Jordan-Jean participated...