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Spotlight On People and Places Behind Empty Bowls

Delightfully quirky and intelligent with the energy of a wood sprite, Christine Timchek captivates. How and why she has come to make pottery bowls for Second Harvest Food Bank’s Annual Empty Bowls is was what brought us together.

In one way, it began when Christine and her husband moved to Winston-Salem. Settling into their new home, an awkward corner in the living room set them on a journey to visit Seagrove, NC, and the incredible community of potters that live there. Ultimately, they landed at the studio of Mark Hewitt in Pittsboro, a third-generation potter who crafted the piece Chrsitine wanted. He would also become the catalyst for Christine's future as a potter. “He made it look so easy, and I was hooked.” she said.

Christine signed up for pottery classes at Sawtooth School for Visual Art and quickly understood the countless hours of practice and preparation behind the effortless appearance of Mr. Hewitt's masterful skills.

“The journey I embarked on led me down the road of hard work, stubborn persistence, and endless frustration," Christine explained. "Your mind sees something artistic, an organically shaped vase, simple and elegant. What invariably takes shape has the aesthetics of a child’s summer camp project."

Fortunately, Christine’s determination outweighed her frustration. No small piece of her motivation came from the opportunity to throw bowls for Second Harvest 's annual Empty Bowls event and learning that with every dollar raised for Second Harvest provides six meals for neighbors struggling with food insecurity. These days, from January to March, every piece she throws is for the event – a drive through fundraiser, offering ticket holders soup for two, prepared by Second Harvest’s Providence chefs, and two pottery bowls, loving crafted (or hand painted) by community members like Christine.

“Sawtooth is proud to serve as the community-minded, creative hub where Christine can connect her passion for ceramics with her aspirations to end food insecurity in our region,” said Lauren Davis, Executive Director at Sawtooth School for Visual Art. “For many years, our ceramics team has partnered with Second Harvest to ensure that hundreds of high-quality, handcrafted bowls are available for this event––with all proceeds supporting Second Harvest’s vital mission and work.”

For Christine, her commitment to supporting the event year after year is deeply personal.  

I was born in postwar Germany. I held my very first orange when I was about four years old. I went off to kindergarten and waited to have this precious thing for lunch. A mean little boy grabbed it and took it. I can still feel the pain of that experience. Nobody had much of anything. Food choices were limited or pricey. My mother raised me on her own. While I never went hungry, many of the meals I got were to ’fill the stomach,’ not something I wanted. Meat was a Sunday sort of thing, and potatoes a mainstay. In this country of plenty, no one should have to worry about their next meal.”

We couldn’t say it better, Christine.

“This will be the 23rd year of our much beloved community event and largest annual fundraiser,” explained Reedy Mensh, Senior Manager of Volunteer Programs and Special Events for Second Harvest. “One of my favorite things about Empty Bowls is how it relies on a collective effort from our community: the Second Harvest Staff, all of the potters and local artists that create bowls throughout the year, our generous sponsors and attendees who continue to support us year after year, and our talented Providence staff that creates the delicious soups we all get to enjoy. It is truly a collaboration like no other.”

The 2024 Empty Bowls will be held Wednesday, April 24, from 11 a.m. through 6 p.m. at Second Harvest’s new headquarters located at 3330 Shorefair Drive in Winston-Salem. Get your tickets at



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Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC

3655 Reed St. 

Winston-Salem, NC 27107

Tel: 336-784-5770

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