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Empty Bowls Fundraiser returns

Handmade bowls

ALLISON LEE ISLEY/SALISBURY POST Pat Wayne looks through the various pottery bowls crafted by students for the Empty Bowls Fundraiser at North Hills Christian School in Salisbury N.C. on Thursday, March 10, 2016.  The proceeds of the event go to Rowan Helping Ministries.

ALLISON LEE ISLEY/SALISBURY POST Pat Wayne looks through the various pottery bowls crafted by students for the Empty Bowls Fundraiser at North Hills Christian School in Salisbury N.C. on Thursday, March 10, 2016. The proceeds of the event go to Rowan Helping Ministries.

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By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — For the first time in nearly five years, the “Empty Bowls” fundraiser has returned.

A partnership with Rowan Helping Ministries and North Hills Christian School, the meal raises awareness of hunger issues in Rowan County. The meal, held at North Hills on Thursday evening, has a long history, but stopped five years ago after the art teacher, and main organizer, left the school. But this year it’s back in full swing.

One in three children in Rowan County is food insecure, Kris Mueller, resource development director of Rowan Helping Ministries, said.

“They’re not sure where their next meal will come from,” she said.

Countless others rely of food assistance. The event name “empty bowls” comes, in part, from pottery bowls made by North Hills students and students at Jesse C. Carson High School. Guests were able to pick up the hand-made bowls from the long tables at the back of the gym and use them for the meal.

“We come and we fellowship together and we walk away with empty bowls as a reminder that not everyone will go to bed with a full stomach,” Executive Director of Rowan Helping Ministries Kyna Grubb said.

Bowls made by students were free to keep at the end of the evening.

Thursday’s meal had a relaxed, family atmosphere, with long tables set up in the gym and doors thrown open to let in the warm air. Outside, people lined up, waiting to get in, or stood talking in groups. The meal was simple — bowls of soup, rolls and sweet tea.

“I think we had about 45 gallons of soup donated,” Mueller said.

The partnership between Rowan Helping Ministries and North Hills is a longstanding one. Grubb serves on the board of North Hills, and North Hills Executive Director Maria Lowder is the chairman of the Rowan Helping Ministries board. Lowder said she was “thrilled at the energy” of Thursday’s crowd. Nikki Eagle, director of marketing and communications at North Hills, said she was pleased with the turnout.

“Our goal was 400,” she said. “I think we’ve exceeded that.”

Eagle said that the event couldn’t have happened without volunteers including parents, students, members of both boards and Cub Scout Pack 306.

Proceeds from ticket sales and a raffle of bowls made by local artists and donated by Pottery 101 go to Rowan Helping Ministries. Mueller, Eagle and Grubb hope that the dinner will continue for many years to come.

“It’s wonderful to see ’empty bowls’ back at North Hills,” Grubb said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

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