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Empty Bowls benefit set for Friday

November 16, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Many of us have seen pictures of people standing in soup lines during the Great Depression. Even with the bleak economic outlook, most will be able to avoid that fate, but some might not.

To bring attention to those in need in Morgan County, local organizations and volunteers have joined together to support the second annual Empty Bowls Benefit set for Friday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Berkeley Springs High School.

Homemade soups, rolls and drinks will be offered, and participants will be able to select a small handmade bowl to take home as a reminder of their "soup kitchen" experience, said Audrey Morris, director of Morgan County Starting Points.

This week is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, and the fundraising event is meant to raise awareness about the hungry and homeless, Morris said.

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"It is to make people aware that this meager meal will not make them 'feel full,'" she said. "Sometimes this is all people have to eat."

With a $20 donation, participates will receive a bowl made by one of five local artists -- Veronica Wilson, Gordon MacLeod, Crawford Horne, Lynn Lavin and Sandy Kay. The less-expensive bowls available were made by community members, Morris said.

"This is the time for the community to come together as a whole to recognize hunger and homelessness. It has always been an issue in Morgan County, but now that the economy has worsened on the national level, we are clearly feeling the effects here at home," she said.

Local restaurants and businesses donated homemade soups and supplies for the event, Morris said, and community leaders will serve the food.

A silent auction is part of the fundraiser, and local artists have donated many items.

"We want to raise funds for local organizations that are trying to help with local hunger and homelessness issues. We want to leave no child hungry in Morgan County," Morris said.

The proceeds from the event will benefit the Starting Points Meal Time Community Kitchen and Morgan County's Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle.

Lyn Goodwin, Starting Points board member, said the local Boys & Girls Club provides after-school snacks to about 60 children a day and serves meals to about 75 kids during its summer program.

The Meal Time Community Kitchen serves about 1,200 meals a month. The kitchen has seen a 33 percent increase in 2008, Morris said.

Participants can bring nonperishable food items to the event, Morris said, which will help stock pantry shelves at Stepping Stones to a Brighter Future, a transitional housing program for Morgan County victims of domestic violence.

Ragtime, a local artist, donated one of his 1,000 Points of Peace stained-glass art pieces to the silent auction. All the proceeds will go toward Stepping Stones, said Rose Jackson, its board president. The artwork promotes nonviolence, she said.

At 7:30 p.m., Morris will lead a National Night Out outside the high school to raise homeless awareness.

About 186 men, women and children are homeless every day in the Eastern Panhandle, she said.

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