Goshen’s Empty Bowl overflows for 11th year

The annual Empty Bowl fund-raiser for Interfaith Hospitality Network in Goshen happened Saturday evening.

Posted on Feb. 26, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — Whether it was the soup, the one-of-a-kind bowls, the atmosphere or the good cause that brought them, people came by the hundreds Saturday afternoon in downtown Goshen.

By the official 5 p.m. start of the Empty Bowl Project, people were already eating inside the farmer’s market. The line outside stretched down the block, from infants in carriers to elderly people with walkers.

“It’s a great fundraiser,” said Anna Ruth Hershberger, lined up outside with friends.

Scott Janzen, one of those friends, said, “The soup’s always incredible, there’s the good music.”

Saturday’s event marked the 11th year of the fundraising effort which benefits Goshen’s Interfaith Hospitality Network, an effort of local churches to provide shelters and meals for homeless families.

It’s organized by the Goshen Clay Artists’ Guild. Most of the 30 guild members and other potters hand make the bowls.

“We have a lot of bowls, but we love them so much we keep coming back,” said Jeanie Martin as she chose one of the bowls Saturday. “It’s a good cause.”

Local restaurants and individuals chip in to make about 30 soup options, bread and desserts, and people were able to buy one of the roughly 900 bowls and food for $15.

Last year’s event raised more than $11,500.

Looking around the crowd, Dave Pottinger, who helped get the effort off the ground, said, “It’s amazing, just amazing.”

Not only the support from the community, but, “The potters. Think about all the work they put into it!”

Jessica Koscher organized the event. Surveying the crowd, she said, “This is a beloved event, it really is.” People will wait for as much as 90 minutes to come help out, and potters from outside the area pitch in bowls to make it a success.

Koscher said she won’t know until later how much money came in for Interfaith Hospitality Network, but the event has had steadily growing attendance: 860 people came out last year and 820 bowls sold in 2010, she said.

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