An average sized can of soup can be purchased for less than $2 at nearly every retail location.

But a bowl of soup?

Well, for at least one day a year in Greenwood, that costs $25 – although the value is without measure.

On Oct. 10, the 11th annual Empty Bowls fundraiser comes to the United Center for Community Care, with all proceeds benefiting the Greenwood Soup Kitchen to prevent hunger from spreading among neighbors.

A partnership among the Greenwood Area Studio Potters, Greenwood Medical Alliance and a consortium of local woodworkers and basket makers, Empty Bowls has become a key source of revenue for the soup kitchen.

“It’s really humbling how the community has gotten behind this fundraiser,” said Norm Fawcett, chairman of the Soup Kitchen’s board. “It is critically important to us.”

Last year, Empty Bowls generated nearly $38,000 – about half of what it costs to keep the kitchen operating year-round.

At the Main and Maxwell gallery in Uptown Greenwood last month, students in owner Laura Bachinski’s class spent an evening in fellowship as they designed handmade bowls for the event. Each potter made two, keeping one for themselves and donating the other.

“I’ve wanted to do this for years, and we finally found a year that works for us,” said Karen Smith, a Grand Harbor resident who brought several friends with her. “We brought a whole group, and it’s just wonderful.”

Every year, nearly 700 bowls are created.

“We started it because our potters’ guild has a strong component of community service,” Bachinski said. “We do as much as we can to get the word out.”

Empty Bowls will have three seatings: At 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Fawcett said the two earlier sessions have already sold out – an indicator of how strong support is for the venture. Tickets are still available for the 7:30 time slot, and there are take-out reservations being accepted.

Greenwood’s participation in the drive makes it part of a global movement established in the early 1990s by a pair of teachers in Michigan.

Lue Clark, who moved to Greenwood County nine years ago, has participated in bowl making for the event since she arrived.

“I have enough bowls at home, so I might donate both of them,” she said.

For information or to order tickets to this year’s event, call Norm Fawcett at 864-227-3421.