Helping the hungry – one bowl at a time

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 23, 2012

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — Hundreds of hand-crafted ceramic bowls and mugs were given out Thursday evening at North Hills Christian School during a fundraiser for Rowan Helping Ministries.
Individuals paid a suggested $10 donation to eat a meal of soup and bread donated by local restaurants and caterers. They then could choose a piece of pottery from a variety of creations by local students, area potters and volunteers.
Like many North Hills children, Jack Richard picked his own artwork to take home from the fundraiser. The third-grader’s bowl was glazed orange and black with a big “T” for the University of Tennessee, his mother’s alma mater.
After holding up his bowl to allow a closer look, Jack summed up the purpose of the fundraiser in one sentence.
“I think whenever you take a bowl, you can look at it and remember there are people who need help, and you can help support them,” he said.
The annual Empty Bowls event is part of a nationwide effort organized by artists to increase public awareness of hunger in local communities.
The local fundraiser was organized four years ago by Becky Burgin, an art instructor at North Hills Christian School in Salisbury.
Burgin said Thursday night that she’s not yet sure how much money was raised, but roughly 300 people filled their bowls.
“This was the best one we’ve ever had — the most well-attended,” she said. “It was a success regardless of the amount raised or the food given, because it was a group effort of the community to make life better for folks who don’t have it so good right now.”
Jack’s grandmother, Joan Richard, joined her 9-year-old grandson at a table after picking out a bowl made by someone at Nazareth Children’s Home. She said she still uses the bowl she got from last year’s event to hold spare change.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “It’s something everybody enjoys, and the children participate in the cause, which is the best thing about it.”
The local Empty Bowls event is part of a nationwide effort organized by artists to increase public awareness of hunger in local communities.
Food was provided Thursday by Debbie Suggs Catering, Hendrix Barbecue, Palms Cafe, Wink’s Barbecue and Seafood, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, DJ’s Restaurant and L.A. Murph’s.
Local artists Cheryl Goins, Mimi Howard and Lenny Cooper donated pottery for the event. Other contributors included Nazareth Children’s Home, Knox Middle School, and youth groups from First United Methodist Church and Milford Hills United Methodist Church.
Jason Kluttz, an intervention worker at Nazareth Children’s Home, said the fundraiser gives young people a chance to learn how to make pottery and talk about serving others.
“We’re kind of used to everyone else helping us,” Kluttz said. “For once, our guys can get the chance to turn around and help someone else.”
Jose, a 17-year-old client of the home, said he used his skills from a high school ceramics class to make a bowl for the fundraiser.
“I just like messing with clay, and I like that it’s something that helps other people,” he said.
Wendy Everhart came to the Empty Bowls event with her 5-year-old daughter Olivia and her 7-year-old sons, Mason and Jackson — all students of North Hills.
Olivia and Mason painted their bowls with colorful designs. Jackson pointed to a sculpted head with a forked tongue on his own bowl, identifying it as a king cobra.
“We came last year also, and it was very good,” Everhart said. “I love it, and it’s great to give back to the community.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.