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Crowd fills empty bowls project for hungry (w/video)

By Sara Sneath
Feb. 9, 2014 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 9, 2014 at 8:10 p.m.

Macy Sabo, 3, of Victoria, picks out a ceramic bowl at the 10th anniversary of the Victoria Empty Bowl event at the student center at the Victoria College. Victoria College art students along with local potters donated hundreds of bowls that were sold for $15 at the event  Sunday.

He did a pitcher's dance, wound up his arm and threw a ceramic mug at a stack of cement cinder blocks.

"That was just thrilling," Walter Womack, 65, of McFaddin said.

At Sunday's Empty Bowls event, attendees picked hand-crafted ceramic bowls to fill with their choice of 15 soups, perused items in a silent auction and smashed flawed ceramic wares to the beats of local singer/songwriter Jerry James - all in the name of fighting hunger in the Crossroads.

Womack attends the Empty Bowls event every year, he said.

"I have the very best collection of empty bowls in all of the five surrounding counties," he said.

Throughout the past nine years, the Empty Bowls event has raised more than $90,000 to benefit the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, Christ's Kitchen, Victoria Christian Assistance Ministry and Victoria County Senior Citizen Center, said Sherri Pall, Empty Bowls co-chairwoman.

She said this year's Empty Bowl event raised more money for charity than last year, when more than $11,000 was collected. Pall said this year's success was in part because of more sponsors for the event and a greater number of attendees. Pall said 670 bowls were sold Sunday, leaving 30 sad, lonely bowls left unused.

"We've always said this is a community event, and this year, it's very evident," Pall said. "It's really very humbling."

Ruth Dahlstrom, 66, of Victoria, said she buys bowls every year.

"We give them away as Christmas gifts," she said. "This time, we're looking for something that might be cute to put a dip in."

Wendy Wachtel, 44, of Victoria, attended Empty Bowls for her first time Sunday with her 9-year-old daughter, Isabelle Wachtel. Together, the two looked through the hundreds of bowls sitting on the tables in the Victoria College Student Center foyer for the perfect bowl.

"I think I'll just know it when I see it," Wachtel said.

Isabelle picked out a bowl with a seashell pattern, and Wachtel found a flat-bottomed bowl, which looked almost like a pair of pants.

"It's really, really cool," Wachtel said of the Empty Bowls event.

Mathew Durham, 19, of Victoria, is a sophomore at Victoria College and a student in ceramic arts. He crafted a couple of the bowls for Empty Bowl. Each bowl took about half an hour to make, he said. But it took him about a year and a half to learn how to make bowls, Durham said. He said he still gets a thrill from giving away his crafts.

"I like watching their expression light up," Durham said.

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