• Laurel Contributor

Empty Bowls

by Ashley Stewart

The Empty Bowls Luncheon, set for October 6 at First Presbyterian Church of Highlands and The Orchard Event Barn in Cashiers, is a delicious way to support local food pantries.

On Sunday, October 6, please join Fishes and Loaves Food Ministry and Cashiers churches at The Orchard Event Barn for the Empty Bowls Soup Luncheon from noon to 2:00 P.M.

Local artisans have created unique, hand-crafted bowls that can be filled with the eight different varieties of soup crafted by eight of Cashiers’ finest chefs.

Cost of the event is $25 and guests may keep the unique bowls that their soup arrives in. Proceeds go directly to Fishes and Loaves, which maintains a food pantry and works to alleviate hunger in the community.

For information about the Cashiers event, call (828) 743-3222.

On the same date, Highlanders are invited to join the International Friendship Center’s Highlands Food Pantry, and Highlands First Presbyterian Church, as they host the 10th Annual Empty Bowls Luncheon, in Coleman Hall on the corner of Fifth and Main Streets in Highlands.

The Empty Bowls Project is the Friendship Center’s largest fundraiser of the year to support the operation of their Highlands Food Pantry. From 11:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., a simple meal of soup and bread will be served, and a beautiful handcrafted bowl is yours to choose and take home for only $25. The delicious soups and desserts are generously donated by Highlands area chefs and restaurants.

Artists from The Bascom, all across the Plateau and beyond, have donated their time and talents to create these beautiful bowls. Last year, Mayor Pat Taylor made 100 bowls!

The Friendship Center and First Presbyterian Church of Highlands thank Frank Vickery, who spearheads The Bascom’s bowl-making effort and all the pottery artists. In addition to your handcrafted bowl, there will be several door prizes awarded to lucky patrons, and a silent auction featuring a variety of fine, handcrafted items.

In late 2017, the Friendship Center’s Highlands Food Pantry moved to its current location in the Faith and Fellowship Center at Highlands United Methodist Church. In addition to canned and boxed goods, the Pantry provides families with fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, proteins, and personal hygiene items. In the new space, the Friendship Center has increased service to hungry families by 45 perent and there are more adults and children in need.

The Pantry is entirely staffed by its 70-plus volunteers, and feeds more than 4,000 people a year. Open every Monday from 3:30 to 5:30 P.M., they serve more than 70 families a week. While the primary supplier is MANNA Food Bank in Asheville, Director Marty Rosenfield makes a point to keep food local, nutritious and fresh, through partnerships with Bryson’s Food Store, August Produce, and local farmers.

“Empty Bowls has received tremendous support from the Highlands community. Each year the event has grown, as more people learn of our worthy cause,” says Committee Chair Cindy Trevathan. “We’re excited to see old friends and some new faces at this year’s event.”

If you’d like to purchase a ticket in advance of the event and get your bowl early, you may preview a selection of bowls at the Episcopal Church of The Incarnation in Highlands, Highlands United Methodist Church, and First Presbyterian Church of Highlands, starting Sunday, September 22.

You may also purchase a ticket online at internationalfriendshipcenter.org beginning August 15. Print your voucher, and pick up your bowl at the Empty Bowls event on October 6.

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