Our Place presents 22nd annual Empty Bowl dinner

BELLOWS FALLS — Tickets are now on sale for the 22nd annual Empty Bowl dinner and auctions Sunday, Nov. 3, at Alyson's Orchard in Walpole, N.H., to benefit the food programs of Our Place Drop-in Center.

The event gets underway at 5 p.m. and includes a soup supper featuring signature soups from local restaurants and chefs and silent and live auctions featuring items and services donated by local businesses and individuals.

Tickets are $40 each and are on sale at Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls, Galloway Real Estate in Walpole or at Our Place.

With the theme of “Gather and Share,” the event begins with an auction preview and social hour. A highlight of the event is each attendee's selection of one of the handmade bowls to take home as a reminder of those who struggle to put food on the family table.

Proceeds of the dinner support the food programs of Our Place, which include a food pantry, a daily breakfast and lunch, and nutrition education.

“This is our most important fundraiser of the year,” OP director Lisa Pitcher said in a news release. “We are very grateful for the donations of bowls, auction items, and food that make it possible.”

Truly a community effort, the event features soups, bread, and salad for the supper donated by area restaurants and schools and served by students from New England Kurn Hattin Homes. Students from Vermont Academy help with the set up, and the Fall Mountain Interact Club helps clean up.

Bill Stevens will be wielding the gavel for the live auction, which so far includes art works, a handmade table, Stratton ski passes, 150 gallons of heating oil or propane, a custom-made wood box from Cooperman's Fife and Drum, a quartet of metal musicians by Bob Taylor, a baseball autographed by Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, quilts, a Chris Sherwin glass bowl, a night at the Grafton Inn, a dinner-theater night out, a glass piece by Nick Kekic of Tsuga Studios, gift certificates from many local businesses and the much-sought-after two pounds of fudge by Cathy Siano.

The oldest such event in the area, the Our Place Empty Bowl dinner is part of an international effort that began in 1990 to raise money for food programs. What started as a local effort in a Michigan high school has grown into a worldwide program that has raised more than $1 million to help fight hunger.

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