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Pottery to benefit homeless shelter

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — An art instructor is asking local potters to donate the empty bowls that will help fill those of people in need.
Each hand-crafted, glazed ceramic bowl or mug will be given out during a fundraiser for Rowan Helping Ministries. It is part of a nationwide effort organized by artists to increase public awareness of hunger in communities.
The local Empty Bowls fundraiser will take place on March 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at North Hills Christian School. It is part of a nationwide effort organized by artists to increase public awareness of hunger in local communities.
The Salisbury event was organized four years ago by Becky Burgin, an art instructor at North Hills Christian School. In that time, the annual event has raised more than $5,000 for Rowan Helping Ministries.
“I have never (had) to go to bed hungry and am incensed that in such a wealthy country anyone should have to,” Burgin wrote in an email to the Post. “Pottery is one of my favorite media and also of my art students. …So combining both passions made a way to make a difference in our community.”
In a telephone interview Saturday, she said she found out about Empty Bowls from her own pottery teacher. When she began teaching at North Hills, Burgin said, she saw the students’ enthusiasm for service projects and thought this would be a perfect fit.
For a suggested $10 donation, individuals can enjoy a simple meal of soup and bread — donated by local restaurants and caterers — and choose a piece of pottery made by North Hills students, area potters and volunteers.
Cam Campbell, community relations director with Rowan Helping Ministries, said Friday that the proceeds each year go to help people in need through the agency’s various programs.
She said the food pantry is still running low on canned beans, canned meat products, peanut butter and boxed starches like pasta and mashed potatoes.
“We really appreciate North Hills’ support throughout the years for putting this event on for Rowan Helping Ministries,” Campbell said.
Using donated clay, Burgin teaches students, faculty and staff members at North Hills how to create and paint a decorative ceramic bowl or mug. She also helps members of Milford Hills United Methodist Church and children from Nazareth Children’s Home participate in the event.
Last year, Burgin fired more than 300 pieces in the school’s kiln. She said this year, a parent who is giving up her ceramic business has donated her equipment to make the process easier.
Burgin is now looking for potters in the community to donate their own works for the event and help promote it to the public.
“It’s just been building gradually, and hopefully it will get even bigger,” she said in a phone interview Saturday. “We’re always going to have hungry people, and when they’re your neighbors, you need to help them out.”
To learn more about Empty Bowls, visit www.emptybowls.com.
Glazed ceramic bowls or mugs can be dropped off at North Hills Christian School at 2970 W. Innes St. in Salisbury. For more information about the local event or to donate, contact Becky Burgin at 704-633-8428.

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