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Empty Bowls fills hungry bellies in the Joplin area and worldwide; if you care about the problem of hunger, consider participating in one of two of these fundraisers to feed the hungry in our area.

Empty Bowls is an international project that fights hunger; each community’s event is independent. Area artists and groups have made handcrafted bowls that are provided to participants in exchange for a stated donation. The bowls are then filled with soups provided by participating area restaurants for the event. Each bowl is an enduring piece of art and a reminder of the project.

The first event is set for today at the Wesley House in Pittsburg, Kansas. A variety of soups and beverages will be served to donors from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 411 E. 12th St. The price of a bowl is a $20 donation, but those who purchased bowls during the presale will have first pick of the soup and chili options.

We are glad to see the return of Joplin’s Empty Bowls fundraiser this year. The charity feed didn’t happen last year because the event’s primary organizer and Phoenix Fired Art owner Heather Grills moved from the area. Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission stepped up this year to take on the task of coordinating artists and managing the fundraiser, and appropriately so. Watered Gardens for years had received a portion of the fundraiser’s proceeds to support the meals it served and the organization’s food pantry. In addition to Watered Gardens, proceeds this year will support the work of two local church-sponsored organizations, Mission Joplin and We Care of the Four States.

Joplin’s Empty Bowls fundraiser will take place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 7:30 p.m. for supper Thursday at the Empire Market. Presale bowls are available for a $30 donation and can be purchased from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the Forge Center for Virtue and Work, 705 E. 15th St. Bowls can also be bought on the day of the event for a $20 donation. Mercy Hospital will also sell bowls from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the day of the event in front of the gift shop at the hospital, and will also serve soup to donors.

Food is best when shared, but many don’t have enough. We all must eat — it is a fundamental need you can help meet by donating and joining others to share a bowl of soup.

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