BELLOWS FALLS—Calling up an old folk tale about making something out of nothing, Our Place Drop-in Center has reconfigured its signature Empty Bowl fundraiser into a do-it-yourself event.
Instead of gathering to share soup donated by local chefs and restaurants, bid in live and silent auctions and take home a handcrafted bowl, would-be attendees are being invited to buy a ticket and a bowl and pay to add items to an imaginary soup — all by mail.
The Stone Soup Supper is based on the story of a stranger who shows up in a village and asks for food and a place to sleep. When the wary villagers tell him they have little food, he draws them out by starting a soup with just a stone and musing on how good it would be with a cabbage and a few other vegetables. Of course, with each one adding one item, they soon have a nutritious meal for everyone.
Our Place, whose daytime shelter and food pantry serves people in Rockingham and the surrounding area, is hoping fond memories of prior Empty Bowl events will encourage former attendees to add to this year’s imaginary stone soup and tempt others to get involved.
The yearly event is one of the food pantry’s major fundraising events, so its loss will take a big bite out of the nonprofit’s operating budget just when the numbers of those seeking groceries and meals is rising.
“Each year, we serve an average of 9,000 meals and provide 175,000 pounds of canned goods, produce, and other products to 130 families, plus deliveries of boxes of food to 34 homebound seniors,” event organizer and Our Place board member Louise Luring said.