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Event bowls over free clinic

February 09, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- With increasing numbers of people losing their jobs and health benefits, Robin Roberson is thankful for any help in keeping the Community Free Clinic in Hagerstown going.

People out of work have been coming to the Community Free Clinic in growing numbers and last week, the clinic saw 42 new patients, said Roberson, executive director of the clinic.

Last year at this time, the clinic was seeing about 10 new patients a week, Roberson said.

To help keep the clinic running, about 250 people came out Sunday for the annual Potter's Bowl at Trinity Lutheran Church on Randolph Avenue.

For $50 apiece, guests could select from about a dozen different kinds of soup, which were served in bowls donated by local potters. Raffles and an auction were also part of the 17th installment of the event. Organizers hoped to generate about the same amount of money as they did last year, when about $17,000 was raised, said Carol Mendelsohn, one of the organizers.

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Organizers hoped to have this year's Potter's Bowl at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge, a roomier venue where it was held last year, but Mendelsohn said a scheduling misunderstanding made that impossible.

The smaller venue made for a packed room in the lower level of the church. Organizers worked the noisy crowd to sell raffle tickets, and people crowded around the serving line to try soups like mushroom barley, matzo ball with chicken, Hungarian goulash, and turkey sausage and white bean.

Steve Wright of Hagerstown, one of the potters who donated bowls, said potters usually donate about a dozen bowls each for the event.

Wright teaches the craft at Hagerstown Community College and the Frederick (Md.) Pottery School, and the bowls he donates are demonstrations from the classroom.

"I've been doing this since the beginning," Wright said.

"I think it's wonderful," said Carol Schofield of Hagerstown, one of those sampling the soups. "You really feel a sense of community."

Janet Broadwater, one of the servers, ladled out chicken tortilla soup. Then she sprinkled pieces of white corn tortilla and shredded Mexican cheese on top.

The B'nai Abraham Synagogue congregation makes the soup and Trinity Lutheran Church provides the space, Broadwater said.

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