Empty Bowls FRN Fund Raiser, Thursday, October 14th 6-8 pm at the Opera House

There is a resource in Pocahontas County, the Family Resource Network, or FRN for short, which has quietly been filling the needs of those in our community who are struggling to put food on their family’s table or provide their family with the necessities to enjoy a healthy and good life. Whether that be food from the FRN’s Food Pantry or assistance with energy bills.

The pandemic has greatly increased the number of people who need this assistance, many of whom have fallen in the cracks of government programs. While at the same time the pandemic has stressed the FRN’s ability to obtain the food or other services they provide.

Now there is an opportunity to help the FRN get the resources to help your neighbors who are struggling. It is called the “Empty Bowls” fundraiser. We talked with Laura Young, the Director of the Pocahontas County Family Resource Network and asked her about Empty Bowls.

We talked with Laura Young, the Director of the Pocahontas County FRN, and asked her about Empty Bowls.

“The Family Resource Network has a Harvest House Food Pantry” Young explained. “It’s a monthly food pantry where low-income families can come out (to) and get free food.  Our food comes from Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway, and some of it comes free to us, and some of it we pay for. So, we are continually looking for funds so we can buy a high-quality protein item to put in those food baskets.”

“About five years ago, Cynthia Gurreri from the Arts Council came to me and she wanted to know how she could help me raise some money, and this was the idea we came up with. We actually borrowed this idea from Greenbrier County, and this is going to be our fifth annual Empty Bowls event. Every dime that we raise under Empty Bowls will buy food for this community.”

“The event is going to be at the Opera House, with the soup and the food. People can just go in and buy their tickets there. If they’d prepaid, just come in anytime between six and eight. They (tickets) are $25.00 each for pre-sale and if you buy them at the door, they’re $30.00. We also accept donations, if people can’t make the event, but they would just like to donate to the food pantry, they can just make their checks payable to the Family Resource Network and mail those to PO Box 3, Marlinton West Virginia, 24954. They can also just call the Family Resource Network, and the number is 304-799-6847. They can also call me on my cell phone, and that’s 304-704-9740. And, if they want to call and tell me that they are coming and want a pre-ticket for $25.00, I’ll write their name on it and they can pick it up at the door.”

“And, it’s a really fun evening. This is one of my favorite things that the FRN does, a very grass-roots community event. It mimics a soup-kitchen, Tim, and you get food, bread, drinks and deserts and soups made by local people here in the community and donated to us. And, Richard Heffner is going to come out and play some music for us at the new Discovery Junction. So, we encourage people to bring their lawn chair. They can go in the Opera House and get their soup and come outside and enjoy some music, or they are free to eat inside if they are comfortable with that. Because of the pandemic, we want to give people some options for their seating. Everyone who comes out and buys their ticket, not only gets their dinner and the entertainment, but they get to take home this beautiful handmade bowl that local artisans have made. Cynthia Gurreri and some of her artists make the bowls and then some of the kids from the high school come in and help glaze them. And we appreciate all of the effort they put in to it.”

Laura, is there anything else that you would like to add?

“I just appreciate the support this community gives the FRN. We work hard to serve the people in this community, and we’ve had a really big need for food. When this pandemic hit, our numbers more than doubled in Pocahontas County, and without the support of this community, we would have had to shut our doors, Tim. But, because of the benevolence that we have here and the people who see the value in the work we do, we have been able to go on and serve our families. And I just appreciate that so much, this is a really great place to live and work.”

Thank you, Laura.

Again, the Empty Bowls event will be occurring this Thursday, October 14th at the Opera House in Marlinton from 6 pm to 8 p.m.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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