The Ceramic Store Helps Houston Food Bank Fill Empty Bowls During COVID Pandemic

 The 16th annual Empty Bowls Houston, which benefits Houston Food Bank and was scheduled to take place on April 4, was postponed as a precaution as concern over COVID-19 was just beginning.  Weeks later and the world is in the midst of a pandemic.  Seeing the staggering increase in need for food assistance caused by COVID-19, one of the longtime sponsors of Empty Bowls Houston has found a unique way to help fill empty bowls.


The Ceramic Store of Houston, 1002 W 11th Street in the Houston Heights area, is the go-to outlet for all things pottery, from wheels and kilns to raw materials and glazes, and knows about the work of the food bank through its years sponsoring Empty Bowls Houston. 

Owners Pamela Owens and Kevin Bass were saddened that the event to raise much-needed funds had to be delayed and by seeing the long lines for food assistance, and created a way for local potters and clay artists to still make and donate bowls to help feed people in need.


The Ceramic Store offers take-home project boxes which are customizable craft kits, with a bisque, ready-for-painting ceramic piece in various shapes and all the necessary supplies to decorate at home. With each project box purchase, customers have the option of adding a free soup bowl to decorate.

When they take the decorated bisque piece back to the store for firing, they can also return the decorated bowl. The Ceramic Store will fire the bowl and send the customer a picture of the finished product, which will become a donation to the 16th Annual Houston Empty Bowls that can be “purchased” for a $25 donation to Houston Food Bank.

If the potter thinks the bowl is too beautiful to give up, they can write a $25 check to the Houston Food Bank as an alternative.  Each bowl is stamped on the base with “16th annual” and the Empty Bowls Houston logo, so they are commemorative pieces.

“Years ago, we were going through very lean times. I received a phone call requesting a holiday donation to the Houston Food Bank,” says Bass. “I hated to refuse but explained that things were just too tight. That volunteer on the phone immediately turned the conversation around, asking if my family needed their help. That reaching out is the mark of a charity I want to support.  Empty Bowls Houston provides a way for potters and the public to marry their desire to help those in need and to celebrate their community. So many people are struggling right now. We wanted to provide an opportunity for those who are not to be able to help. We’re hoping that this let’s parents spend time with their kids, doing something creative that doesn’t cost a lot and benefits the Houston Food Bank.”


All proceeds from Empty Bowls Houston benefit Houston Food Bank.  For every $1 donated to the food bank they can provide three meals to those in need.  So, each bowl sold provides 75 meals.  And these meals are more important than ever.  Currently, Houston Food Bank is distributing more than one million pounds of food per day to keep up with the staggering demand.

“The beauty of Empty Bowls Houston is the tangible nature of actual empty bowls, created and donated by artists, to remind us that there are those around us who might be lacking enough food,” said Brian Greene, president/CEO of Houston Food Bank, the nation’s largest food bank.

“It’s a simple-yet-powerful message, especially now as COVID-19 has caused immense job loss, school closures and uncertainty for so many.  We are so thankful to The Ceramic Store of Houston and their customers for, once again, thinking of their neighbors in need and helping us to provide food for better lives,” Greene added.


 The 16th annual Empty Bowls Houston is being rescheduled for a new date this year and will be announced soon.  The website is  

The Ceramic Store of Houston is located at 1002 W 11th St. Phone is 713-864-6442.  Visit them online at