Full hearts fill empty bowls

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Robert Noles/Opelika Observer

‘Empty Bowls’ fundraiser to hold presale Nov. 7-22

By Rebekah Martin
Associate Editor

The Potters of Rocky Brook are doing their part to alleviate hunger in Lee County.
Every year, the Opelika and Auburn pottery departments create hundreds of handcrafted bowls to sell to the public for the Empty Bowls fundraiser, which benefits the Food Bank of East Alabama. Each bowl comes with a ticket to the event Feb. 10, 2018, where attendees can enjoy soup made by local chefs. The average handcrafted bowl costs $10, while some of the more intricately designed bowls are $35.
In years past, the potters have donated their time, talent and skill to the project, as well as supplying their own clay. This year, two local companies, Rexnord Industries and the Mason Beard Foundation, each donated $1,000 to help supplement the cost of the necessary supplies.
The Empty Bowls pre-sale will be held Nov. 7-22 at three locations: Denson Recreation Center, Mama Mocha’s and O Town Ice Cream. Bowls will be for sale at Denson Recreation Center up until the event Feb. 10, 2018 and at the O Grows Chili Cookoff this Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m at the Southside Center for the Arts.
Also new this year is a cookbook featuring local chefs and their recipes. Kitty Greene, who is the publicity chair for the Empty Bowls event, said the cookbook, which will cost $20, features 22 local restauranteurs including Mama Mocha’s, O Town Ice Cream and Acre. Greene said she hopes the cookbook will be completed and for sale sometime next month and 100 percent of the proceeds will also go to the food bank. The Potters of Rocky Brook raised more than $14,000 in 2015.
Martha Henk, executive director of the food bank, said the event and the monies it has raised has had an important impact on those in the area who are food insecure.
“With every dollar that we receive in funding, we are able to distribute the equivalent of seven meals, and so it has a pretty tremendous impact on our ability to acquire food and distribute it to people in need,” Henk said. “I love the concept of an empty bowl … I’m literally reminded everyday that somebody in my community has an empty bowl that needs filling, but also that there is something very concrete that can be done about making sure people have enough to eat. I’m very mindful of the fact that every one of those bowls, someone has handmade, put their time into creating the bowl, and through this event are able to fill other people’s bowls.”
The Food Bank of East Alabama serves more than 70,000 people in a seven-county region who are considered food insecure and, according to Henk, that would be enough people to fill three-quarters of Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn. Of that number, Henk said 27,000 live in Lee County.
For more information, call Sherie Spain at the Denson Recreation Center at 705-5558. The center is located at 1102 Denson Drive in Opelika.

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