Hester Weigand

Hester Weigand is a stellar example of selflessness. For the past 11 years, she has voluntarily coordinated all aspects of the Austin Empty Bowl Project, a fundraiser for the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB). The Austin Empty Bowl Project is part of an international effort on the part of potters to raise money for and awareness of the fight against hunger in their local community. The proceeds from the event go directly to the CAFB to fund a Kids Cafe. For 10 months out of every year, Hester tirelessly prepares for the Empty Bowl Project. She solicits in-kind donations of hand crafted and decorated bowls from well over 200 potters throughout Central Texas. She is a “foodie” of the highest degree well respected by the 30 restaurants and bakeries that donate soup and bread for the Austin Empty Bowl Project. Because Austin is the “live music capital of the world”, she makes sure four to five musicians and/or musical groups donate playing time to entertain attendees both while waiting in line and while eating their soup. Hester is integral in the recruitment and training of the more than 100 people who volunteer to work the day of the event. About 1500 people attended the 2007 Austin Empty Bowl Project, helping to provide 179,655 meals. Thanks to Hester’s commitment, the Austin Empty Bowl Project has helped to raise more than $300,000 or the equivalent of over 1.75 million meals since its inception in 1996! The AEBP is an established event in Austin (this will be the 12th annual) with a loyal following of over 1200 attendees and 100 volunteers. Potters donate handmade bowls, restaurants donate soup and bread, and attendees are invited to purchase a handmade, hand decorated, one-of-a-kind bowl. The bowls are filled with soup, which is enjoyed while listening to live music. Attendees keep the bowl as a reminder of those whose bowls are empty.