The Twin Valley Rotary Club hosted its 4th annual Empty Bowls dinner at Conestoga Mennonite Church, Route 23, Morgantown, on Nov. 1.
“A large mixed crowd was in attendance for this yearly event held the first Friday of every November to feed the hungry,” said Rotary Club Secretary Mary Ellen Mahan.
She added, “The hungry does not only include those that attend. Most importantly 100 percent of the money raised is donated to the Twin Valley Food Pantry that operates out of Conestoga Mennonite Church with volunteers and donations such as these.”
The mission of Rotary is service to humanity. This event shines a spotlight on the hunger and need of some within our community.
The 2019 event will go down as a record year, raising approximately $2,200. The popularity is growing as some attendees are becoming collectors of the hand-crafted ceramic bowls made by local potters.
Each person lines up to choose an empty bowl to begin the meal of their choice from steaming pots of a veritable buffet of soups, with tantalizing smells, and colorful displays ladled into their bowls. They can try any variety they desire.
Friends and strangers gathered around tables with other members of the community to share a filling but simple meal.
The bowl they take home is a memory of the evening and a reminder that for many a bowl of food may be all they have for the day. Many in attendance are grateful to be a part of helping those less fortunate.
“The TVFP relies on their generosity to fulfill their mission and are grateful for the excitement of those who make the empty bowls and for those who supply such a diverse and tasty variety of soups. The room sure smells good,” said Mahan.
This year a People’s Choice Award for the soups was presented.
The Heritage Restaurant had attendees lined up for their Loaded Potato Soup.
In the restaurant category they were followed by The Windmill Family Restaurant who donated a Cream of Seafood Soup.
Third place went to Susie Q’s Breakfast and Lunch Cafe for their Italian Wedding Soup.
In the churches group, All Souls ECC, St. Thomas Episcopal, and Zion Mennonite were definite crowd favorites.
In the civic group category the LGBT Center of Reading donated one of the top two soups of the night with a Coconut Curry Crab soup, and one of the Rotarians’ Chili was the other top soup of the event.
The Rotary Club gives a big thank you to the volunteers from the Twin Valley High School’s National Honor Society and the Girl Scouts who served soup all night and help every year.
The Club also gives a special thank you to the event potters who generously donated their bowls. This year potters included Elayne Baker, Diane Dobbins, Catriona McDermott, Susan Moore, Jill Moyer, Bebe Poor, Tel Hai Retirement Community, the TV Rotary Club, and the TVHS art students and teachers.
And thank you to all who donated soup: All Souls ECC, Brick Lane Community Church, Friends of Rotary, Greenside Grill, Gundaker Foundation, Heritage Restaurant, Joanna Store, Rotary Club of TV, St. Peters Bakery, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Susie Q’s Breakfast and Lunch Café, Tel Hai Retirement Community, Tony Joe’s House of Good Eats, TVFP, TVHS, Village Library, Windmill Family Restaurant, Zion Mennonite Church and the LGBT Center of Reading.
“This community event allows all of us to contribute a little, that can mean so much for those who need a helping hand. We are thankful to live in a community that is so willing to help each other,” said Mahan.
Next year’s event will be held Nov. 6 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Visit the Rotary Club of Twin Valley Facebook page for more information. New members and helpers for Empty Bowls event are welcome. Join the Club weekly for Wednesday meetings at 7:30 a.m. at The Windmill Family Restaurant in Morgantown.