Empty Bowls Event Held In Marlinton

In the fight against hunger, an empty dish is never the goal, but a recent community event proved that they can be part of the solution.

On the night of October 26, the Marlinton Municipal Building was bustling with laughter and voices as people from all over the country gathered to break bread at Pocahontas County’s first ever Empty Bowls event.

Empty Bowls is an international movement created in 1990 to support hunger relief programs. A collaboration between artists and communities, different groups cook soup to fill bowls made by local potters. Guests buy a bowl and that money is donated to fighting hunger. Inspired by this movement, Cynthia Gurreri, president of the Pocahontas County Arts Council, approached the Pocahontas County Family Resource Network.


“FRN had gone down to an Empty Bowls last year, and they were talking about it. And we were talking about doing some classes, getting some people to do it. And I said let’s just jump in and do it.”


Cynthia made bowls along with local artisans Kathryn Gillispie, Tracy Walker, Eric Stahl and Alison Flegel. They were then glazed by students at Pocahontas County High School, creating a cross-generational collaboration. Soup and bread were donated by local restaurants and groups, connecting people across the region.


Potter Alison shared why this experience is important

“It’s always nice when I can use my passion and my talent to create things that make money to support my community and the people in my community. That’s what it’s about for me”


This Empty Bowls event raised $4,233 for the Harvest House Food Pantry, over twice the amount expected. The food pantry, which feeds over 350 individuals monthly receives food donations from the Mountaineer Food Bank, as FRN executive director Laura Young shares.

“We get some food from Mountaineer Food Bank which comes to us free, but we do have to pay shipping costs on that and sometimes there’s a small delivery and handling fee. But we have to add to that, we never really get enough from them to serve the need. We spend between $800-$1,200 a month helping our community.”


All involved hope to make this an annual event and the Family Resource Network encourages listeners to donate time and money to the food pantry as they are able. For more information contact Laura Young at 304-799-6847.


Empty Bowls is, at its heart a community event.

“It’s wonderful because the people that are here, are our people. We are serving our people tonight and we serve our people every day at our food pantry. It’s really nice, it warms your heart to see all these folks here having a nice meal and everybody smiling. We’ve had a few bumps in the road tonight, but everything went really well”


For Allegheny Mountain Radio, this is Vaden Vosteen

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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