Empty Bowls set to fill community meal mission

The Annual Empty Bowls fundraiser benefit for the Meal Time Community Kitchen will be held Friday, November 22 at Berkeley Springs High School from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Proceeds from the gathering benefit the Meal Time Community Kitchen, which served roughly 16,000 free meals last year to families and single community members.

The Meal Time Community Kitchen, run by groups of volunteers and the Starting Points Family Resource center, serves a hot meal three times each week at Starting Points in downtown Berkeley Springs.

Included in the Empty Bowls entry fee is a handcrafted bowl and specially-prepared soup from one of several local restaurants.

Handmade pottery bowls can be chosen as part of the entry into the annual Empty Bowls event on November 22.

The event includes a silent auction of donated items. This year, Empty Bowls will also feature a live auction with local auctioneer Jay Lawyer, who is also supporting the event by hosting an online auction for several donated items on his J. Lawyer Auction Services website.

A portion of the entry fee also supports the local Boys & Girls Club.

Bowls for the event have been donated by several sources. Students at Marshall University have contributed their pottery bowls again this year. Local potter Lisa Swanson and fabric artist Jane Frenke also donated bowls for the fundraiser. The Morgan Arts Council has held “make and donate” pottery events that will add to the bowl offerings.

Each year, celebrity servers dish up soups donated by local restaurants for the meal portion of the evening. This year’s celebrities are members of Morgan County’s clergy. Attendees have several choices of soup, rolls and drinks for the meal.

Empty Bowls events were created as a way to raise awareness about community hunger and homelessness around the Thanksgiving holiday nationwide.

Meal Time Community Kitchen is the community’s primary source for free hot meals for those in need.

Starting Points Executive Director Audrey Morris points out that food insecurity can affect people of all ages and stages of life, from young families that are between jobs to senior citizens who live on their own or struggle to get by on Social Security benefits.

For some clients of the kitchen, the three free dinners served each week will be stretched to provide multiple meals.

Volunteer groups take turns preparing and serving meals each Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Meals are served from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Meal Time Community Kitchen can be reached through Starting Points at 304-258-5600.