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Empty Bowls to return this year

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Students at North Hills Christian School have been working hard to mold and fire hundreds of clay bowls for Rowan Helping Ministries’ “Empty Bowls” fundraiser.

The benefit, to be held in the North Hills gymnasium on Feb. 9, raises money for Rowan Helping Ministries and awareness of local hunger. Guests can eat from bowls made by students and shelter guests.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to be reminded that there’s hunger in our community,” said Kyna Grubb, executive director of Rowan Helping Ministries.

Thursday morning, two shelter guests, Olivia and Lillian, worked with a group of North Hills middle school students to create the clay bowls that help give the fundraiser its name. While they worked the clay, the two told the students their stories.

Lillian and Olivia are sisters, but they arrived at the shelter separately. Lillian became a guest at Rowan Helping Ministries after a brush with a mental health experience that was “not for me.”

“So I ended up having to leave there with no place to go,” she said.

Rowan Helping Ministries took her in, and the staff there helps her remember to take her medication. Lillian said she’s found fulfillment by volunteering to help breakfast crews and to work in the laundry.

“I cope with things by helping other people,” she said.

The schedule helps her manage her life and makes her feel better.

Her younger sister, Olivia, said she has been in and out of the shelter for nearly two years because of some bad choices. This is her last opportunity, she said.

“And I’m making it,” she said. “I just have to keep relying on God.”

Olivia and Lillian, along with other guests at Rowan Helping Ministries, took pottery classes recently at Pottery 101 in downtown Salisbury. The classes were funded by a grant from the Rowan Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, as well as funding from the state and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Art has been demonstrated as something to reduce stress,” said Kris Mueller, Rowan Helping Ministries’ director of resource development. “So we like to have our shelter guests have the opportunity to reduce stress.”

“It builds your self-esteem to look back and say, ‘I created this piece of art,’” Grubb said.

Thursday morning’s bowl-making class was a way to not only get the guests more involved in the Empty Bowls preparation but also to give them the opportunity to share something that they’ve learned.

Lillian thanked the students for making bowls and helping with an event that will ultimately help her and others in similar situations.

Nikki Eagle, director of communications and marketing for North Hills, said that’s what it was all about.

“What we do affects everybody,” she told the students.

Empty Bowls will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at North Hills Christian School. Tickets are $5 for children, $10 for adults, and $25 for a family. Learn more at 704-637-6838. Tickets are available at www.rowanhelpingministries.org.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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