For the past 11 years, Empty Bowls McKinney attendees have gathered to purchase hand-made ceramic bowls, sample food from local restaurants, and raise money to fight food insecurity in their community.

Local artists donate handmade bowls that are a key part of the annual event, which takes place on the square in downtown McKinney. Included in the cost of admission is a bowl for every guest to take home. There are also larger bowls that are part of the silent auction and raffle. Each bowl has a card inside that reads, “This bowl is a reminder to pray for those in the world with empty bowls due to hunger.”

Sponsor Coordinator Molly Jones said McKinney’s large artisan community and several pottery studios have made Empty Bowls successful over the years.

“I think the neatest thing about it is that it’s a fun event even though you’re tackling a very serious issue with food insecurity,” she said.

Empty Bowls McKinney raises money through event sponsors and ticket sales. Last year, the event raised $120,000, according to the organization’s website.

Attendees can purchase a general admission ticket to this year’s event on May 4 for $35. These tickets allow attendees to enter the event at 6 p.m. to choose a handmade bowl and sample soups from local vendors.

For guests who are able to donate an additional amount, Empty Bowls also features a Collector’s Club, which is a select group of 65 people, Jones said.

These 65 attendees will get early access to the event at 5:30 p.m. They will then choose a bowl from the exclusive Collector's Club edition bowls and have first choice of soup samples from local vendors. These tickets cost $125—money that goes back into the local community.

“A huge portion of the money we raise goes to Community Life Line and Community Garden Kitchen,” Jones said.

Community Life Line is a crisis organization that serves all of Collin County. Empty Bowls McKinney helps supply the organization's food pantry and helps with their food distribution program.

“Let’s say, for example, you’ve lost your job and you run out of savings, and you just need a little bit of help for one or two months,” Jones said. “That’s what this organization is there for.”

Empty Bowls also supports Community Garden Kitchen, which opened last June and hosts a program called “Dining with Dignity.”

“It’s sit-down style dining, four nights a week, and you can come in and have a chef-prepared meal for free with no questions asked,” Jones said.

With around 1,000 community members expected to attend the May 4 event, Jones said the organizers do not plan to change many aspects of Empty Bowls and hope to continue to build on last year’s success.

This year’s vendors include Blount Fine Foods, The Celt, Bernard's Gourmet Foods, Harvest Seasonal Kitchen, Hug's Cafe, Spoons Cafe, Local Yocal BBQ & Grill, Patina Green, The Pub, Rick's Chophouse, Square Burger, CT Provisions and Coffee & Crumbs.

At the time of publication, this year’s sponsors include:
  • Blount Fine Foods
  • Globe Life
  • First United Bank
  • Del Sol Holdings
  • Love Life Foundation
  • Encore Wire
  • H-E-B
  • Dill Investments
  • Legacy Planning Group
  • ProNail Roofing and Solar
  • McKinney East
“The involvement from the community has been absolutely amazing,” Jones said. “We have over a hundred volunteers, and we couldn’t do it without them.”

To sign up to volunteer, purchase a ticket, or find more information, visit

The above story was produced by Mary Katherine Shapiro, a member of Community Impact's Storytelling team, with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team. Our integrity promise to our readers is to clearly identify all CI Storytelling posts so they are separate from the content decided upon, researched and written by our journalism department.