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Annual "Empty Bowls" charity event is Dec. 5
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gary Vellum at work
Vessels by alumnus Gary Vellam, above, are among those to be offered at the annual "Empty Bowls" event Dec. 5. at St. John's United Church of Christ in Dunkirk.

Hand-thrown bowls made by local potters will be given to donors at the annual "Empty Bowls" event on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. John's United Church of Christ in Dunkirk. Proceeds benefit local charities. Guests are invited to make a donation, and in return will receive a bowl of soup, served in the bowl of their choice which they can take home.

This year the bowls will come in sizes designed to acknowledge contributions of $10, $20 and $30. While numerous individuals have created the hundreds of bowls, none are signed by the maker. Instead, they are simply imprinted with the "Empty Bowls" logo.

Pat and Sylvia Bailey of "For Your Pleasure" Caterers of Dunkirk will prepare several soups out of ingredients directly donated by area gardeners and merchants. At least one of the soups will be vegetarian. During the event, live entertainment will be organized by popular area musician Tom Gestwicki.

This event is sponsored by the Fredonia Potters Co-op, a loosely and locally organized assembly of the area's amateur and professional potters. Many of these individuals work together at Mudslingers, a pottery studio owned and operated by Ron Nasca in downtown Fredonia, N.Y. Each year the SUNY Fredonia campus is also involved with the event. The SUNY Fredonia ceramics faculty will be directly cooperating in the effort as they will be producing and donating bowls as well.

"Empty Bowls" is an annual fund raising event held all over the world. Potters everywhere gather to create hundreds of unique ceramic bowls that are given to individuals willing to make a modest contribution to a local charity serving food to the hungry.

The now international organization, "Empty Bowls" was formed in 1990 by John Hartom and his wife Lisa Blackburn. They continue as volunteers to maintain a web site documenting the many Empty Bowls fundraisers happening around the county. Individuals who are interested in learning more may visit

For more information on this year's event, please contact Marvin Bjurlin, coordinator of the Empty Bowls effort at (716) 672-9151or at


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