High Altitude Society: Salvation Army’s Empty Bowls fundraiser fills others’ cups

Carolyn Pope
High Altitude Society
Emergency workers and law enforcement serve up soup.
Carolyn Pope | Special to the Daily

A simple premise: a fundraiser that is affordable for most so those who cannot afford it can eat.

The Empty Bowls fundraiser is affordable for most participants and helps those who can’t afford to eat. The Salvation Army plays host to the event each August, when each guest can buy a handmade ceramic bowl for $25. Ann Loper, Marjorie Westermann and Colorado Mountain College ceramics students created the bowls. Guests take home the bowl and a full stomach, while proceeds benefit the Salvation Army, which manages the largest food pantry in our valley. Early this month, the event took place at Battle Mountain High School. Folks from the Sheriff’s Office — including Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek — Avon police officers, volunteers from search and rescue, local firefighters and paramedics helped dish up and clean up.

Corporate sponsors included Holy Cross Energy, the Vail Board of Realtors, Encore Electric, RA Nelson and Global Cable.

Empty Bowls fundraisers take place all over the country to support food banks. About 500 families locally rely on their services. The Eagle County Salvation Army is all about making life easier for those in need, be it through the food bank or emergency assistance, including situations such as when an apartment building in Avon burned down. The Salvation Army helped those people find temporary housing and provided financial assistance. The Salvation Army also helps stranded motorists when Interstate 70 shuts down. When emergency responders are on sites, the Salvation Army helps feed them, too.

Restaurants that donated their talents included Splendido, Vail and Beaver Creek Mountain Dining, La Tour, Four Seasons, Sweet Basil, Maya and Taste 5 Catering.

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The Salvation Army keeps an active schedule of events. Coming up is the annual harvest dinner on Thursday, a farm to table dinner hosted at its offices, making use of abundant garden produce by local chefs. The Red Kettle golf tournament is also coming up Sept. 12 at the Cordillera Valley Club.

The organization is always looking for volunteers and helpers. Whether it’s gathering a team for the golf tournament or help at registration at the event, unloading a food truck the first Monday of the month, providing office assistance or stocking the shelves at the pantry, your hands are always needed. Contact the Salvation Army offices at 970-748-0704 or

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