Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 22, 2013

‘Empty bowls’ can fill us up


— This week, readers of The Goshen News have likely noticed a recurring theme on the front page — Who We Are. What those three words represent in this context is our unscientific examination of the people and programs that make our community special. We will feature such stories each day in our paper through next week, when we will publish a special “Who We Are” section on Feb. 28.

A story that ran on page A3 of the paper on Thursday may not have had a “Who We Are” tagline, but it illustrates as well anything the type of community we are. “Empty bowls fill need,” the headline read as the article went on to inform us about the annual Empty Bowl Soup Benefit that will take place Saturday at the Goshen Farmers Market. For more than a decade the event has brought the community together to raise money for and awareness of the very real issue of homelessness right here in Elkhart County. Proceeds go to the Goshen Interfaith Hospitality Network.

In recent years the Empty Bowl event has flourished, serving approximately 800 people at a time. Often a very long line snakes out of the Farmers Market and through the artists’ guilds. Organizers said there will be heated lamps outside to help keep supporters warm as they wait.

For a donation, those supporters pick out a handmade bowl — courtesy of the Goshen’s Clay Artists’ Guild — that is then filled with soup. After consuming their dinner, people are allowed to keep their bowl. The hope of organizers is that the bowls will be a regular reminder to community members that homelessness and hunger do exist here.

 “The Empty Bowl Soup Benefit is truly a community endeavor,” said Jess Koscher, the event’s coordinator. “… It really is an amazing thing to see.”

Yes, it really is. The “Empty Bowl” is a wonderful example of the type of community we have here. We encourage anyone who is able to support the Empty Bowl Soup Benefit by attending this Saturday. Doors will open at 4:45 p.m. and the soup will be on from between 5 and 8 p.m. The line will form outside of Rachel’s Bread directly east of the Farmers Market Building.

Bon appétit.