Evans Street Station offers ‘Empty Bowls’ to help feed those in need

On Wednesday, Jan. 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Evans Street Station invites the community to participate in Empty Bowls, a special event designed to fight hunger in Lenawee County. This simple lunch of soup can make a difference in the lives of those who struggle every day to get enough to eat.“Our whole team really looks forward to this event,” said Beth Kennedy of Evans Street Station. “We would do this event every year if we could because the need to feed the community is so great.”All over Michigan, more people are coming to food banks searching for help in battling hunger. The pain of an empty stomach is recognized by Empty Bowls, an outreach fundraiser that raises money for soup kitchens. Locally, Adrian College instructor Pi Benio is the coordinator for the event.“It’s usually in the beginning of the year,” Benio said. “The event is a massive undertaking. Four years ago we had four events and we made $12,400.”The international grassroots battle against hunger was started by The Image Render Group. The goal is to have local artists and those active in the community create ceramic bowls.Benio works with Adrian College students as well as community classes, Community Clay and Art Rocks Kids. In addition to the Evans Street Station location, Benio is hoping for a second location at Sauce in Adrian.Benio and her students advertise and set up the event, as well as price, clean and bag the bowls for the event. Creating the bowls is very labor intensive. According to Benio, it is a nine-step process from throwing the clay to the final firing. These creations are used to beat hunger with the power of a simple meal, soup and bread. Participants in Empty Bowls keep their soup bowls as a reminder of all the world’s bowls that remain empty on a daily basis.“The thing is to encourage use of this art object,” said Benio. “We’re hoping to have 500 or 600 bowls for the event.”“The bowls are absolutely incredible,” Kennedy said. “They are just beautiful handcrafted bowls.”The Empty Bowls project sponsored by Evans Street Station gives 100 percent of funds raised to Lenawee County Salvation Army Soup Kitchen. Diners select a bowl made by a local artist and Evans Street Station fills it with a choice of soup accompanied by crackers and a beverage. Sandwiches and salads are also available to add to the soup.“It’s set up similar to a soup kitchen,” said Kennedy. Patrons select a bowl and then take it to the kitchen area to fill it with soup.The special lunch can be enjoyed at the restaurant or picked up for take-out. The choices in bowls are $10, $20 or $30. “The more the merrier,” Kennedy said about the number of people participating in the special day. “We want to do as much as we can to help the soup kitchen.”“This is a really great cause,” said Benio. “The Salvation Army is really good about getting the money to the people. They offer services for the whole county.”Questions about the Evans Street Station event can be directed to Kennedy at 424.5555. Benio is happy to answer questions about Empty Bowls and can be reached at 517.264.3901 or pbenio@adrian.edu.

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