LONGMONT ó One symbol of hunger is an empty bowl. Hundreds, though, can make for a fulfilling fund-raiser.
The OUR Centerís Empty Bowls event returns this year, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 19 at Longmont High School.
The event, in its second year in Longmont, is an effort to raise awareness about, as well as funds for, hunger issues locally, said OUR Center executive director Edwina Waldrip Salazar.
The Empty Bowls concept began in 1990 with a Michigan high school art teacher who wanted his students to support a local food drive. The students decided to make ceramic bowls to serve guests a simple meal of soup and bread as a reminder of hunger in the world.
Waldrip Salazar said the Longmont event was a hit last year, and some guests were turned away at the door because there was no room. This year, a bigger venue will allow more people who come for a simple meal and a solution to hunger.
ďAs our numbers (at the OUR Center) continue to go up, things havenít economically resolved completely here in Longmont,Ē Waldrip Salazar said. ďAnd yet, funds donít increase in the same proportions to the numbers we serve.Ē
She said in one recent weekend, the OUR Centerís emergency food program served 160 clients, a telltale sign that a growing number of people in Longmont are hungry.
In 2004, the OUR Center served almost 60,000 meals at the Hospitality Center and distributed more than 592,000 pounds of emergency groceries.
Empty Bowls will help to fund the OUR Centerís food programs.
The event will include a silent auction from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring bowls made by more than 70 local artists and celebrities, including Channel 7ís Mitch Jelniker, Channel 9ís Marty Coniglio and Bazi Kanani and Longmont Mayor Julia Pirnack. Musical groups from Longmont High and Frederick High will perform.
Tamar Hendricks, owner of Crackpots Studio, 501 Main St., said those interested in helping can paint an official stackable ceramic bowl at her pottery shop. The bowls, which Hendricks will glaze and fire, each cost $12 (tax-deductible), and the final day to paint one is March 12 ó but itís better to get one in sooner than later, she said.
ďItís a creative way to donate, giving something to the event and somebody is going to keep it forever,Ē Hendricks said.
Local students and artists also have donated painted bowls, which patrons will receive filled with hot soup in the food court of Longmont High School.
On that day, empty bowls will signify something else: fewer hungry households.
If you go
What: The second annual Empty Bowls gathering
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 19
Where: Longmont High School, 1040 Sunset St.
Tickets: $15 each, available at the OUR Center Intake Office, 303 Atwood St.; Crackpots Studio, 501 Main St.; Longmont High School, 1040 Sunset St.; and Frederick High School, 600 Fifth St. in Frederick.