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Empty Bowls Offers Perfect Antidote to Snowy Afternoon
Monday, January 22, 2024


Ten-year-old Violet Resko went to work on a handpicked bowl full of green salad as she and her family took their places at Empty Bowls on Sunday.

The salad was good, but even better was the idea that her family was adding three new one-of-a-kind bowls to their collection.

“I volunteered a few times, and we’ve come together to eat as a family,” said Jenny Resko, who was there with her husband Willie and daughter Violet. “We love the bowls that we collect each year. We have all different sizes and we pick the one we want depending on what we’re eating. We’ve even got one funky, lumpy bowl, and we love it.”

More than 200 people turned out on a snowy Sunday to attend the 12th annual Empty Bowls. They were greeted by a hearty green chili soup, a vegan posole, Wisconsin potato bacon, Tuscan white bean, butternut squash and other soups donated by C.K.’s Real Food, Rasberrys and others.

The soups provided the perfect antidote for a foggy winter day, characterized by early morning black ice on the highway and afternoon slop in the parking lot.

“I can’t believe the variety among the bowls,” said Janet Fugate, one of a few dozen volunteers. “I’d have a hard time selecting one.”

“I like to get a bowl, fill it with soup, then clean it up and give it away as a gift,” said Rae Kozlowski.

Empty Bowls started in 2010 as a collaboration between Boulder Mountain Clayworks and The Hunger Coalition. It was based on an international project to fight hunger.

The bowls, made by artists and members of groups like the Girl Scouts, have grown more beautiful and charming each year.

“We open up Boulder Mountain Clayworks to groups to make bowls for the occasion. And each year they come in protesting that they’re not artists. And by the time they leave they’re inspired,” said Diane Walker, who teaches at Boulder Mountain Clayworks.

Oliver Wiedemann, who’s taking a hiatus from the University of Denver, is among those who has made bowls.

“My family made some bowls last year and I wanted to help this year,” he said. “I like to make big open bowls with a variety of colors. I like to make them stand out.”

The Hunger Coalition transferred the project over to the Blaine County Charitable Foundation last year. The BCCF helps Blaine County residents with emergency requests for such things as help with rent.

One recipient, Dan, told how he had a setback that forced him into transitional housing with no vehicle to get to sporadic construction jobs. Another man working through BCCF leant him a car that his son had owned through a short-term loan he could pay back over a year, and now “Little Blue” gives Dan the independence he needs to secure more dependable work.

Debra, a Sun Valley employee, told how she was struggling to pay her bill. BCCF not only helped her with her rent so that she could pay down some of her debt but helped her figure out how to consolidate her debt so she could have a lower payment.

“It is such a weight off my shoulders,” she said.

Currently, BCCF is seeing an uptick in people needing financial assistance because the lack of snow has eliminated winter jobs like snowplowing that Blaine County residents depend on, said BCCF Executive Director Mary Fauth.

“It’s important to recognize that the money we raise goes to people who live here,” said Penny Thayer, who was among the small group of people who started BCCF.

“We started BCCF to help people during COVID. But we quickly recognized that our help was needed even if COVID hadn’t have happened,” she added.

Fauth noted how a variety of different groups had come together to help put on Sunday’s event, including members of the Church of the Big Wood, the Blaine County Democrats and some of those BCCF has helped.

“I’m so excited to see the variety of people here from different parts of the community,” she said as she looked around the room at tables full of people enjoying their food. “It’s good to see the different groups working together side by side. They’re talking with one another, getting to know one another. It’s a wonderful community event.”

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