Soup's on to help Community Free Clinic

February 27, 2000|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

For one Sunday each year, area potters and cooks join forces to help the underprivileged by donating handmade bowls and soups for the Potter's Bowl dinner to benefit the Community Free Clinic.

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This year the dinner offered 14 different soups to fill bowls made by 20 different potters from across the Tri-State area, according to Carol Mendolsohn, co-chairwoman of the event.

The B'nai Abraham Sisterhood and other volunteers made 65 gallons of soups and various breads. The desserts were made by members of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown.

The soup offered included chicken gumbo, beef vegetable, chicken matzo ball, African vegetable, butternut bisque, posole chicken, Persian soup, lentil, curry split pea, and mushroom and barley.


Mendolsohn's white bean soup was a favorite of the 200 people that packed Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown Sunday evening for the event's fifth year.

The dinner had been held at B'nai' Abraham for the first four years but since has outgrown the space, she said.

The attendance was double last year's and tickets were sold out before they were even printed, Mendolsohn said.

"We could sell twice as many tickets, people are clamoring for them," she said.

Mendolsohn said she believes the event brings such a crowd because it's for such a good cause.

"People are beginning to become more cognizant that the country has fallen short in supporting the working poor," she said.

Washington County residents pay $25 each to pick out a bowl and get it filled with as much and as many of the different soups as they'd like, she said.

Many patrons lined up before the doors opened at 6 p.m. to be first to select their bowls, which are theirs to keep, she said.

Last year the dinner yielded about $5,000 for the clinic and more than double that amount was predicted this year, said co-chairwoman Janet Shaool.

The event has become a Hagerstown tradition, said Shaool.

"People really enjoy the soup, socializing and getting to take home a real piece of artwork," she said.

Hagerstown potter Audrey Berdanier donated 60 different stoneware and porcelain pots she created for the dinner.

Berdanier said she was eager to help out with the fundraiser as a way of helping others and expressing her spirituality.

Many of Berdanier's bowls had unique carvings, fluted edges or other distinctive features. She used such colors as browns, blues and greens for the dishwasher- and microwave-safe bowls.

Debbie Bowman of Hagerstown and her friend Elizabeth Nicholas of Baltimore came to the Potter's Bowl dinner for the first time on Sunday.

The women admired the bowls a friend brought back from the dinner over the past four years and decided to get their own.

For Sunday's dinner, Bowman, who said she collects pottery, had a brownish bowl with an abstract carving around the sides.

"I love it. It's just gorgeous," she said.

Of the 14 soups offered, the beef vegetable was at the top of Bowman's list while Nicholas said she favored the African vegetable.

"It's such a nice event. The soup is delicious and the bowls are beautiful - we are very fortunate," said Lori Rice of the Community Free Clinic.

Rice selected the mushroom barley soup, prepared by Kathleen Stratton of Shepherdstown, W.Va., as the best, she said.

Stratton said she has used the recipe for the past two years and will probably bring it back for next year's Potter's Bowl.

"It's been a big hit. A lot of people have asked for the recipe," she said.

Stratton made five gallons of the low-fat soup for the event.

"It's a way for me to contribute, and I love to cook," said Stratton.

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