Group that fights hunger exceeds ticket goal

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 6, 2012 

Three groups combined to promote the fight against hunger and raise some cash for a good cause Tuesday night.

Los Banos Junior High, the Arts Council and Rotary Club sponsored the third annual Empty Bowls project at the Ted Falasco Arts Center.

More than 500 community members paid to eat and take home a ceramic bowl, which represents the empty bowl of someone in need of food. The exact amount of money raised at Empty Bowls was not available at press time.

People who purchased tickets received a paper bowl full of soup and an empty ceramic one molded by junior high teacher Jim Clarke and painted by members of the Rotary Club and the Social Science Club at the Merced College, Los Banos Campus.

The event typically has about 300 people attend. Before Tuesday's event, Clarke said he was a little worried that 500 tickets would be sold. Clarke was pleased with what he saw at Empty Bowls.

"It's a nice social event, that's what I really love about it. You see people you haven't seen in awhile," Clarke said.

A drawing was held at the event in which Clarke gave away vases made by former students.

Les Polacsay and his wife, Sondra, attended Empty Bowls for the second time. He said he supports as many local events as he can afford. He said he's fond of Empty Bowls because the food is good.

The event featured 10 different types of soup made by local restaurants. Colleen Menefee, who is a Rotarian and a member of the Arts Council, acted as a go-fer when the food ran out. Menefee said she was pleased with the attendance.

Richard Raw had pea soup. Raw said he heard about the event from Clarke.

"The way he talked about it, it sounded really good, all the people the money went to," Raw said.

The funds from Empty Bowls will go to local nonprofits that feed the hungry including The Salvation Army and Meals on Wheels.

Brenda Latham, president of the Rotary Club, said more than 500 tickets were sold and she was impressed with the number of volunteers who staffed Empty Bowls.

"It's so wonderful because every last penny we raised goes to help feed the hungry in Los Banos," Latham said.

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