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Empty Bowls project fills hearts in Los Alamos

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By Kirsten Laskey

Sitting around a table with family with a bowl full of soup is a luxury not everyone gets to enjoy, said Karen Edwards, Self Help Inc volunteer, said. However, Self Help Inc. offered hundreds of people the opportunity to enjoy this simple pleasure during its 15th Annual Los Alamos Empty Bowls fundraiser Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.Ellen Morris Bond of Self Help described the turnout at the fundraiser as “fantastic.” She said about 400 people walked through the entrance at the senior center during the first half-hour.Additionally, it was predicted that approximately 700 hand-painted pottery bowls would be purchased for $10 each and over 100 gallons of soup from Central Avenue Grill, Bandelier Grill, DeColores, Hot Rocks, Coffee Booth, Papa Murphy, Ruby K’s, Sage Bakehouse and La Montanita food co-op would be served. The fundraiser also featured a silent auction, live music by the Roaring Jellies; Four Fifths and the Hill String Quartet, bread and desserts.For several participants, attending the Empty Bowls is a tradition. Sandi Hasenack of Los Alamos said she and her family have been going to the fundraiser for five or six years. “We’ve been coming a long time,” she said. “I think it’s a lot of fun,” Hasenack added. “The bowls are great, the food is good (and) it’s for a good cause.”Sandra Bogenholm of Los Alamos has attended the Empty Bowls for the past four or fives years. “I like to help them raise money and I also like the lovely bowls,” she said. “It’s a community event; you see friends and listen to great music.”Bob and Laurie Walker of White Rock had a personal connection to the fundraiser. Laurie helped make some of the bowls, Bob explained. A wide assortment of pottery was for sale; pieces featured a rainbow of colors and a variety of shapes and sizes.Volunteer Anne Gallimore said she helped pour the bowls and said the creativity, imagination and designs the pieces featured were just “mind boggling.”Other great items were featured in the silent auction and included opera tickets, catered meals and weekend getaways.The Empty Bowls is the major fundraiser for Self Help, Morris Bond said it will raise 10 percent of the organization’s annual budget.The reason the Empty Bowls is successful, Morris Bond said, is because “it’s a combination of the generous spirit of the communities we serve, especially Los Alamos and the artists who share their time and talents ee really help our budget stay solid.”Self Help Inc., a United Way organization, is dedicated to supporting those in need in northern New Mexico. Since 1969, it has provided consultation and advocacy, emergency financial assistance, school supplies and seed-money grants to residents of Los Alamos, northern Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Taos counties.