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Artists craft bowls for Empty Bowls fundraiser

Preparations are well underway for the annual Empty Bowls Supper coming up Friday, May 13, to support Peace House's Uncle Foods Diner program and other Ashland efforts to feed the hungry. Artists from many parts of the community have been busy making handmade ceramic bowls for the supper. Recently, several artists met at the Ashland Art Center to craft bowls while enjoying pizza supplied by the Peace House and, earlier in the week, students from Southern Oregon University also shared pizza while making bowls for the event.

This is the fifth year Peace House has sponsored Empty Bowls, where for $25 for adults and $10 for students, participants get to choose a bowl and then fill it with soups donated by area restaurants, accompanied by bread from local bakeries. 

Proceeds make possible Uncle Foods Diner, which offers a generous hot meal to those in need every Tuesday afternoon at the First United Methodist Church, as well supporting the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, Food Angels and Access. These organizations are the primary sources for those in the area who need help in securing food for themselves and their families.

Last year, the Empty Bowls event raised more than $12,000 to assist those organizations. 

Kathryn Thalden, cochairman of the event, said that “acquiring enough handmade bowls is our biggest challenge every year. We want to make sure that everyone who comes is offered a beautiful, handmade bowl to enjoy at the event and take home with them. We depend on the generosity of Clayfolks artists to donate bowls, and really appreciate the contribution that Ashland Art Center and Southern Oregon University is making this year.” 

Area businesses that make the event possible are the restaurants that provide the soup: Standing Stone Brewery, Greenleaf, Green Springs Inn, Amuse, Pangea, C Street Bistro (Jacksonville), Howiee’s on Front (Medford), and Maren Faye Caterers, plus bakeries that include La Baguette, Organicos, Village Baker, SunStone Bakery, Standing Stone Brewery and Rise Up! Artisan Bread. 

Empty Bowls also gets support from Ashland city officials, as Mayor John Stromberg and members of the City Council will serve soup the first hour, followed by other well-known personalities in the community. 

Major sponsors for the event are Neuman Hotel Group, Patie Millen Group — John L. Scott Real Estate, Earth and Humanity Foundation, Sanctuary One, Sarah and Dr. William Epstein, True South Solar, Treetops Foundation, and Sid and Karen DeBoer. 

“The Empty Bowls Project is a unique and remarkable example of what collaboration in our community can do for those in need," said Elizabeth Hallett, board chairman of Peace House. "Fourteen restaurants and bakeries and eight major sponsors from throughout the Rogue Valley have combined their talents with a huge team of potters and servers to create an innovative approach to helping those in need.” 

The supper is set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, at the First United Methodist Church, 175 N Main St., Ashland. Tickets are available at Paddington Station, Northwest Nature Shop, at the door and online at peacehouse.net. For more information, call Peace House at 541-482-9625.

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