Empty Bowls to remain virtual
Some of the empty bowls donated by local artists for the Empty Bowls Dinner in 2019, which annually raises funds for Groundworks Collaborative’s food pantry, Foodworks.

Empty Bowls to remain virtual

Annual fundraiser to benefit Foodworks, where demand has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic

BRATTLEBORO — In recognition of rising Covid case numbers, Empty Bowls will take place virtually again this year.

For 18 years, local potters have created and donated artistic and functional bowls to raise funds for the food shelf now known as Foodworks. In that regard, this year is no different, but in lieu of an in-person dinner, the bowls will once again be sold at local stores.

The fundraiser was a success last year “due to the community support for this important work of providing emergency food to all who need it in our community,” Groundworks Board Member and Empty Bowls Co-Chair Beth Kiendl said in a news release.

Funds raised through the Empty Bowls effort help to keep the shelves stocked at Foodworks for families and individuals in need of emergency food. Staff and volunteers pack and deliver two-week supply boxes of food all over Windham County - a shift that was made in March 2020 to continue operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to meet the need by distributing twice as much food as we were pre-pandemic,” said Sara Ryan, co-chair of the event and a Groundworks board member - and that demand is not expected to decrease soon.

Last year, despite the cancelation of the dinner, organizers raised over $27,000 through the support of sponsors, potters, and all who purchased bowls in the community. This year, the committee hopes to out-raise years past to meet the increased need.

Funds raised from the sale of each $25 bowl purchased could provide a two-week box of food for a family of five due to Foodworks' leveraging of donations and purchasing power at the Vermont Foodbank.

Single bowls are available at local stores, including the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Everyone's Books, Kitchen Sync, Putney Food Co-op, Putney General Store, The Shoe Tree, and Zephyr Designs.

“Party Packs” of six and 12 assorted bowls are available for $125 and $250, respectively, and can be purchased at GroundworksVT.org/events.

Party Packs are designed to allow supporters to participate in “host-your-own Empty Bowls” with a small group of friends and family. Bowls purchased online will be delivered within a 30-minute drive of Brattleboro. Purchasers from farther areas can arrange for pickup in Brattleboro.

On Saturday, Oct. 9, at 4 p.m. - the evening the dinner would have otherwise been served - Groundworks will premiere a livestream broadcast on YouTube featuring staff, volunteers, and board members giving the latest updates on Foodworks' impact in the community.

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