Hearts and Stomachs Filled at Empty Bowls

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All were welcomed to share an evening of stories, music and soup at the eighth annual Empty Bowls event held on Nov. 7 at CV United Methodist Church. Empty Bowls is an international effort to help end hunger. At CV United Methodist Church, the theme of the evening was “Hope, Not Hunger” where donors paid $20 for a one-of-a-kind bowl that could be filled with several soups prepared by local restaurants. Diners also enjoyed bread donated by Berolina Bakery.

“Our goal is to give hope to the hungry,” said CV United Methodist Church Rev. Steven Poteete-Marshall. Proceeds from the evening, estimated at $6,000, were dedicated to Friends in Deed House, World Service Fund of the Methodist Church and the Bailey Human Care Center at Tujunga United Methodist Church.

This was Poteete-Marshall’s third year participating in Empty Bowls. Dressed like Clark Kent (with a Superman T-shirt peeking through his dress shirt), Poteete-Marshall represented a “Souper Hero.”

Helping in the coordination of the Empty Bowls event was Jeanne Lavieri, social action coordinator for the church who detailed how Empty Bowls came together.

“There are connections [through this project] between artists, potters and our congregation. Montrose Peace Vigil participates. CV High has made 100 bowls every year. This year two ceramics students from CV served soup,” Lavieri said. “Some of my students at North Hollywood High made bowls and helped wash them for the event. It gives restaurants an opportunity to help, and musicians generously donate their gifts. This year we had lots of Boy and Girl Scouts. People of different faiths [and] organizations all come together for a good cause. It’s a taste of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Lavieri spearheaded the Empty Bowls project at CVUMC eight years ago. She said that, in addition to alleviating hunger and raising awareness, she is a potter and an art teacher who “loves to share the joys of working with clay and developing creativity with anyone willing to volunteer.”

“So the bowl aspect of the project is a great fit,” she added.

The event was an opportunity for service organizations to cross-promote as well as cross-support. Helping to serve soup were members of various Boy Scout troops. Bob Fletcher and Bob Sparks, assistant scoutmasters for Troop 288, had ladle duty.

“The church supports scouting,” said Fletcher of the troop’s involvement. “Empty Bowls is a great project.” The Boy Scouts were preparing for the pick-up portion of their annual Scouting for Food project taking place Nov. 14.

Also lending a hand was Fletcher’s wife Rebecca who helps with Sue’s Garden, a service group at First Baptist Church at La Crescenta. Sue’s Garden works to help the less fortunate in the foothill communities.

Those who were unable to buy a bowl at Empty Bowls had another chance to help the cause at the annual Prom Plus Holiday Boutique on Nov. 14 where extra bowls were for sale.

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