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Ann Randeraad’s EMPTY BOWLS at the Alton Legion

Behind the Scenes with…

A Collage of Empty Bowls at the Alton Legion!

The soup was on with five area restaurants donating a delicious range of soups from which to choose for the annual Empty Bowls food drive. Sunday, October 18 from 11:30 – 4:00 pm at the Alton Legion, several volunteers were on hand to distribute the menus which listed the soup ingredients, to explain the process, and direct the traffic.  With more volunteers inside, things moved smoothly with the tickets at the door, making additional donations, choosing your bowl, and picking up your soup. 

Locally, this tradition was started by and has become established through the sustained efforts of local potter and artist, Ann Randeraad.  She makes and donates 300 bowls every year for Empty Bowls.  Some years there are three to five other potters who join in and contribute upwards of a few dozen bowls. 

Ann Randeraad's Empty Bowls!

This year, the 11th year for Empty Bowls Caledon-Orangeville, Ann was the sole maker of the bowls.  And, she estimates that to date they have raised over $100,000.00 for local food banks, not including the proceeds of this year’s efforts.  The 2020 fund raiser’s  ‘Drive Through – Carry Out’ modification to the usual sit-down event brought out the people. It is still possible to buy bowls and contribute to the 2020 Empty Bowls Caledon-Orangeville fundraiser by contacting Ann at,, or 519 938-2092.

Many sponsors have made this event possible, including the Alton Legion and Dawn Friesen, Graphic Design.  Several area restaurants supplied a delicious selection of soups, with additional orders of soup also available to purchase. 

Absolute Catering of Orangeville served up a hearty Broccoli & Cheese Soup with Fanjoy of Hillsburgh offering the melded flavours of Curried Butternut Squash & Green Apple Soup.  From East Caledon, Gormandissimo’s selection was a rich Sweet Potato Coconut Soup, while Soup Sisters of Orangeville served a hearty Mushroom, Bean & Barley soup. Also, from Orangeville, The Hatter’s offering was a savoury Roasted Red Pepper & Feta soup.

Soup from local businesses for Empty Bowls!

Tickets were made available online and at local businesses, Booklore on First Street in Orangeville, or Gallery Gemma in the Alton Mill Arts Centre, or directly from Ann Randeraad, either by phone or at the Orangeville Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.

Empty Bowls included a food drive again this year with non-perishable food goods collected on the day of the event. With food security being a growing issue for many families and individuals during this pandemic, an area-wide effort such as this becomes even more meaningful than ever.  Local organizations in the region continue to do their part in assisting people.

Central-West Healthline is an excellent resource for information on services available for food and nutrition services. Food Banks and Community Food Programs, they offer, as per the Central West Health Line,

“Free or low-cost food to individuals and families in need on an on-going, seasonal, and emergency basis. Services may include food banks, community gardens, Good Food    Boxes, youth nutrition programs, and nutrition education programs.

Identification for each family member and proof of income and/or residency may be required to access some programs.

With the holiday season approaching, we will be sure to hear from more fundraisers such as Empty Bowls, the traditional toy drives, and roundup for Christmas hampers.  It was 30 years ago that two people raising funds in their Michigan community came up with this concept of making empty bowls, then filling them with humble soups.

One of them an Art teacher, John Hartom, wanted his students and artists to have a way to make a personal difference.  So Hartom’s students made ceramic bowls in their high school classes and then donated them to be used as the serving bowls for a simple meal of soup and bread.  Guests gave a financial contribution, enjoyed their meal, kept the bowl as a souvenir, and the proceeds were then donated to a charitable cause.  The Empty Bowls movement has spread across North America and even become a global event.

Sharing and caring can extend beyond our own immediate experiences to those in less fortunate situations.  I was so humbled years back when a grade 9 student and his older brother donated their own gingerbread house to a school raffle with proceeds going to a food drive.  His mother spoke with me later about the discussions they’d had around the dinner table and how the boys both wanted to give up their own traditional treat so others could have basic foods.

Ann Randeraad, with several volunteers and area businesses, determined some years ago to step up and be part of the solutions in their own immediate community.  Her studio and showroom are located at 284337 County Road 10, Amaranth, where more empty bowls await, mingled in amongst her spectacular dahlias.  A long-time member of Headwaters Arts at the Alton Mill Arts Centre, Ann maintains a regular booth at the Orangeville Farmer’s Market.

Likewise, the symbolic significance of having an “empty bowl” is important for its potent reminder that somewhere somebody is in need and that we can make a difference by giving.  In Ann’s own words, “I believe very much in helping those less fortunate.”

Ann Randeraad Pottery
519 938-2092
284337 County Road 10, Amaranth, ON

Behind the scenes with …© is a column Connie Munson, local photographer, artist, and writer, has developed to share an inside look at the creative process within various arts organizations. She is a director on the board of Headwaters Arts, which has their gallery in the Alton Mill Arts Centre in Caledon, a member of several other arts organizations, and may be reached at

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