Las Vegas Sun

May 22, 2019

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Empty bowls help fill food pantry

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What: Empty Bowl Benefit and Silent Auction

When: March 21, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Where: Green Valley High School, 460 Arroyo Grande Blvd.

Cost: Adults $12, children $10

For the ninth year, members of the Nevada Clay Guild will help Las Vegas Catholic Worker raise funds for its soup kitchen and food pantry at the Empty Bowl Benefit on March 21 at Green Valley High School.

As a fundraiser, the Empty Bowl Benefit is somewhat unique in that every participant goes away with a token that serves as a lasting reminder of their donation and the ongoing battle against hunger.

Each year, members of the Nevada Clay Guild make hundreds of ceramic bowls for the event. For the $12 ticket ($10 for children), participants get to select their own bowl to keep, and then have a simple lunch of bread and soup like the one Las Vegas Catholic Worker serves to poor and homeless individuals every day.

Other works are sold at a silent auction, and all proceeds benefit Las Vegas Catholic Worker.

This year’s fundraiser comes at a time when need has never been greater, Las Vegas Catholic Worker founder Julia Occhiogrosso said.

“We definitely are serving more people,” she said. “There’s more people coming to our soup line and there’s more demand in our food pantry. … We’ve seen the (soup) lines grown from about 150 to 200 folks each morning.”

Donna Potter, a member of the Nevada Clay Guild and a teacher at Green Valley High School, said sculptors from the guild, local pottery stores and Basic and Green Valley high schools have been working since Thanksgiving to make 2,000 bowls — more than the group has ever made for the event.

The event has grow from raising $9,000 in its first year to $26,000 last year, and Potter said she hopes that growth continues this year.

Occiogrosso said she is especially grateful for the artists’ help. “It’s a really wonderful collaboration between the art community and the social needs community,” she said.

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