Empty Bowls benefit next month at Silvercreek

URBANA — Here's a chance to eat soup and bread, take home a hand-crafted bowl and help a local soup kitchen feed the hungry.

All you have to do is attend the fifth annual Empty Bowls benefit, being held this year from 4-6 p.m. April 3 at Silvercreek restaurant, 402 N. Race St., U.

The donation/admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger, with proceeds benefiting the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, which provides daily lunches to the homeless and needy of Champaign-Urbana.

The price of the donation includes a take-home bowl made by a local potter, says Susan Garner of Urbana, a potter who started the Empty Bowl events in the local community in 2007 after hearing about it being done elsewhere.

The keepsake empty bowl taken home serves as a reminder of hunger in the world.

People planning to attend "come to the restaurant between 4 and 6 and pick up a bowl, but they don't eat out of it," Garner says. "We use the restaurant bowls. And they have soup — and their choice of several that Silver Creek makes — and bread, and they can purchase other food if they want."

Empty Bowls is an international grass-roots effort to fight hunger. The project is promoted by the not-for-profit organization Imagine/RENDER Group.

Last year, the local event raised about $2,245 for the Crisis Nursery's food pantry, Garner said.

For this year's dinner benefit, there have been more than 200 bowls made by local potters, including those from the Champaign-Urbana Potters' Club, Parkland College ceramic students and Parkland faculty.

Included this year will also be the raffle of three bowls created by local professional potters Chris Berti, Dwain Naragon and Laura O'Donnell and a silent auction of a framed, low-relief sculpture called Girl with Necklace, by Frank Gallo. The Gallo work is on display and available for bidding at Art Coop at Lincoln Square through April 2, and will be at Silvercreek during the Empty Bowls event.

Organizers of the benefit say only checks or cash can be accepted for admission.

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