NEWLAND — Reaching Avery Ministry, a local nonprofit that provides emergency assistance to residents in need, held its annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser on Sept. 6.

The event, which featured a selection of soups, cornbread, desserts and other tasty items along with handmade pottery on offer, is RAM’s adaptation of a popular charity fundraiser format.

The project, which was designed specifically to fight hunger, originated in in the 1990s as a format to be adapted at the community level.

Empty Bowls events, of which there are several in the area, usually involve pottery and food. Soup is a popular option given the vessel the events are named after.

This is RAM’s sixth edition of the luncheon intended to raise awareness and serve as a fundraiser, and everything was homemade.

There were more than 200 pieces of pottery donated by local artists for the event, in addition to a silent auction.

“All of this benefits Reaching Avery Ministry, our food pantry and our financial assistance for families in need,” RAM Director Janet Millsaps said.

Millsaps said the event is not intended to compete with Feeding Avery Family’s Empty Bowls event hosted a few weeks ago. The FAF version of the event is held on a Saturday in Land Harbor, while RAM’s event is held during the week at Newland Presbyterian Church, in the middle of town. Millsaps explained that the event is intended to reach more people getting lunch during their workdays.

“We always just hope that we do better than the last,” Millsaps said of the goal of the event.

The event is a collaboration of everyone involved in the nonprofit. The board provides the soup, for instance.

The assistance RAM provides includes food, clothing and other needs for community members. On Sept. 28, the nonprofit will be hosting a hunger walk at Riverwalk Park in Newland to fundraise and raise hunger awareness. That event will feature food, music, games, a bake sale and inflatables from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We’re just very grateful to the potters and the donors that donate to the silent auction,” Millsaps said. “And to our staff and board that help make it all possible. We just want to make it a day to bring awareness. That’s what we at RAM do. We’re here to serve the people in Avery County that are hungry.”

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