Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Empty Bowls Help Fill Needs of Homeless; Salvation Army's Annual Fundraiser Unites Clay Students for Good Cause

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Empty Bowls Help Fill Needs of Homeless; Salvation Army's Annual Fundraiser Unites Clay Students for Good Cause

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH REESE CRAVEY

Cheylan Messer and Morgan Johnson looked at the lines of ceramic bowls, each with the appreciative eyes of one artist looking at the work of another.

Moving from table to table, they picked up a few pieces, with great care, and carefully examined the detail, color and shape.

Cheylan, 11, and Morgan, 10, students at Charles E. Bennett Elementary, may be young but they know what they like.

And they liked the collective student-made works on display at the Salvation Army's Empty Bowls fundraising luncheon. They had contributed bowls of their own and attended with their art teacher, Cynthia Smith, in part to see what other schools contributed.

"I think this is really awesome, because of the cause and because they're all beautiful," Cheylan said. "It's nice to see what everybody has done."

Each of the bowls is someone's self-expression, Morgan said.

"I like to make them. They look so cool, because you can just do anything that you want to do," she said.

At the Tuesday luncheon, hundreds of people filled the Orange Park United Methodist Church gym.

For $20, patrons received a simple meal of soup - pasta fagoli, minestrone or lentil - bread and broccoli, symbolic of hunger. Also, they got the opportunity to view and purchase pottery created by students at Bennett and Clay Hill elementary schools; Fleming Island, Orange Park and Ridgeview high schools; and St. Johns Country Day School.

Proceeds are used to provide food, clothing, shelter, electricity and other necessities to those in need.

Last year's event raised about $10,000.

"We always have a big crowd. People were here 10 minutes early waiting to get in," said coordinator Jan Partridge of the Salvation Army's Clay women's auxiliary.

The luncheon, always held in early November, has become a fall tradition in Clay County. …

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