Fill Hearts and Stomachs at Empty Bowl Benefit March 10

By Bonnie Seideman

Elmira Behzadikia ladles soup for attendees. Courtesy of Empty Bowl Benefit

The wheels are in motion—spinning and humming as hands gently cup and shape each lump of clay.  Magically, a bowl appears, then another, and another. It is January at The Mud Studio in Middlesex and the potters in the room are cheerfully cranking out dozens of soup bowls for the Sixth Annual Empty Bowl Benefit for the Vermont Foodbank.

Held at The Mud Studio on Sunday, March 10, this popular event brings together a caring community of central Vermonters who gather to enjoy a steaming bowl of soup, live fiddle music, and a silent auction of locally made art, all to help our most vulnerable neighbors in need.

“With one in four Vermonters struggling with food insecurity each day, including many children and elders, the need is dire in our community,” said benefit organizer Bonnie Seideman.

“Nobody in the year 2019 should have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, or if their children will be unable to sleep, or to learn at school, because their bellies are empty.”

For a $25 donation to the Foodbank, guests get to choose their own ceramic bowl to take home, and enjoy a hearty meal of soup and several accompaniments in a vibrant working studio and gallery.

In its first five years, the Empty Bowl Benefit has raised nearly $35,000 for the Foodbank, Seideman said.

“The Empty Bowl Benefit has been a huge success, and our goal now is to see it grow even more each year. The generosity of our local potters, businesses, restaurants, farmers, and neighbors has been astounding. Every single item at this fundraiser is donated, which means that every penny we take in goes directly to the Foodbank.”

This year’s benefit features soups prepared by many favorite local restaurants and caterers including Black Krim Tavern, Bon Temps Gourmet, Hunger Mountain Co-op, J. Morgan’s Steakhouse, and Sarducci’s. Crusty Red Hen bread, Vermont Creamery cheese, North Branch Café hummus, and Cold Hollow cider round out the meal, with home-baked cookies for dessert.

“I’m proud to sponsor and support this much-needed event,” said studio owner, Michael Sullivan.  “I think of the bowls as a concrete reminder that there are many Vermonters whose bowls are, in reality, empty every day.”

The Mud Studio is located at 961 Route 2 in Middlesex.  The Empty Bowl Benefit runs from 4:30 to 6:30 pm on Sunday, March 10.  Ample parking is available.  Adult donation is $25, including a meal and a bowl, children 5–12, $5 for a meal only, and children under five, free for a meal only.

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