In honor of Pi Day, we’ve decided to feature our favorite neighbors, First Slice Pie Café and our favorite annual event, Empty Bowls.
FIRST SLICE PIE CAFE
First Slice Pie Cafe is a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to feeding the needy and hungry in our communities. Together with local partners, they provide over 600 meals a week to folks experiencing homelessness across the city of Chicago. They strive to give the first, best, biggest slice of our collected efforts to people living on the margins of society.
Adjacent to the Gallery on Lillstreet’s first floor, is one of First Slice's four Chicago locations. In addition to a tempting selection of Chicago's most-loved pies, First Slice offers a menu full of wholesome and delicious soups, salads and sandwiches available in store or for home delivery. In keeping with its goal to fight hunger in Chicago, First Slice partners with artists at Lillstreet each spring for the international, grass-roots fundraising project, Empty Bowls.
Empty Bowls is an international grassroots project aimed to fight against hunger. Each event is personalized by its artists and art organizations on a community level. This year, we hosted our 11th annual Empty Bowls benefit on Friday, March 9, and it was a great success. At our version of this fundraiser guests are invited to select and purchase a handmade ceramic bowl which was created and donated by a Lillstreet ceramic artist, teacher or student. They receive a serving of delicious soup homemade by First Slice, and leave feeling connected to the community they've helped support.
During Empty Bowls, many of Lillstreet’s Metalsmithing and Ceramics classrooms are converted into shopping, dining and meal preparation stations. Participants begin by lining up in the café, where they can make a donation in exchange for a beverage, then they are guided to the first station: Bowl Selection. Here, every surface is covered in artist-donated bowls and each participant can select as many handmade bowls as they can safely carry. Each beautiful, handmade ceramic piece is sold for the price of $25 per bowl, and all proceeds go directly to First Slice.
Adjacent to the bowl browsing rooms, there is a Silent Auction table, where participants can bid on eclectic mix of artist made goods including paintings, sculptures, rare artist supplies, and gift certificates to local businesses. A significant number of Lillstreet Gallery artists donate bowls and other works of art to the cause.
Once bowls have been purchased, participants fill their bowls with their choice of Potato Leek, Chipotle Chicken or Carrot Ginger soup and sit down to enjoy their delicious soup with a side of good Karma. Volunteers for the fundraiser bring bread, water and a selection of desserts around to those dining. After enjoying as many refills of soup as their hearts and bellies desire, there are dish-washing stations where participants can clean their brand new work of art before they take it home.
FIRST SLICE SUBSCRIBER PROGRAM
The First Slice Pie Cafe Subscriber Program is a unique meal sharing program that sends you home with three high-quality meals every weekend for your family and helps First Slice to provide over 600 meals a week to those in our community who struggle with hunger & homelessness.
This year alone, First Slice will help feed 32,000 hungry people in our community.
Oh, and did we mention First Slice sells some seriously delicious pies by the slice or in entirety? (Our favorite is the French Silk.) Happy Pi Day!