Empty Bowls fundraiser set for Thursday in Edwards

Caramie Schnell
People often arrive right at noon for the Empty Bowls fundraiser so they have first choice when it comes time to pick out a bowl to take home.
Kent Pettit | Special to the Daily |

The only thing harder than choosing what soup to eat for lunch is what handmade bowl to take home with you.

“It’s a toss up, but maybe it’s more difficult to choose which bowl,” said Edwards resident Carla Guarascio.

Guarascio is talking about the annual Empty Bowls event, a fundraiser for the local Salvation Army Food Pantry that takes place Thursday. It’s the fifth year for the event, which takes place at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Guarascio volunteers for the Salvation Army and usually attends Empty Bowls with members of her book club, she said.

“It’s a great fundraiser; it’s inexpensive so lots of people can attend,” she said. “And we all just love the artistic bowls we get to take home and the soup that’s donated is much better than your typical soup kitchen soup.”

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Tortilla to gazpacho

This year, the soup options do sound pretty enticing, according to Tsu Wolin-Brown, of the Salvation Army.

“Four Seasons is doing fire-roasted tomato and chipotle tortilla,” Wolin-Brown said. “Golden Eagle Inn is doing its famous black bean soup; Sweet Basil is bringing cold gazpacho vegan; David at Splendido is making consomme with ginger and vegetables; Grouse Mountain Grill is doing Olathe sweet corn.”

Maya, the new restaurant inside The Westin in Avon, is making posole for the event.

“It has guajillo chili broth with braised pork, hominy, Mexican slaw and avocado,” said Maya executive chef Radames Febles.

For Febles, participating was an easy decision.

“Diana (Mathias, the event chair) approached us and it wasn’t much of a thought, it was ‘Sure, absolutely,’” Febles said.

And to mop up the last bits of soup is homemade bread served alongside, provided by Columbine Bakery, Heidi’s Deli & Bakery and Avon Bakery.

Avon Bakery is bringing loaves of sourdough bread to the event.

“We’ve donated bread to the event since it started,” said Dan Trush, the bakery’s co-owner. “I try to keep my contributions to local school events and people who are trying to make an effort for people in our community. Instead of national charities, I try to go local. Even though the Salvation Army is a national organization, they are feeding local people in need.”

Westside Cafe, The Alpenrose, Vail Resorts and Sweet Basil are all donating dessert to the event.

“Molly Harrison from Sweet Basil is doing mini tiramisus and chocolate brownies,” Mathias said.

Replenish the pantry

Last year, more than 400 people attended and the event raised close to $15,000, Wolin-Brown said.

“For $20 tickets, it’s affordable for locals but it sure helps us replenish our pantry,” said Wolin-Brown, who uses the money to buy groceries for the Salvation Army Food Pantry.

The bowls are created and donated by local potters, including artists Ann Loper, Marjorie Westermann, Colleen Everett, Willow Murphy, Lauren Merrill and Debbie Fenney.

“You get a wonderful lunch and get a beautiful bowl to take away. Some of these bowls, the potters sell them for $15 each, so it’s a great deal,” Mathias said.

Mathias started the event, but won’t acknowledge a title.

“It was my baby in the beginning,” she said. “We got great people on board and everyone stayed. We don’t have titles; everyone works together.”

Local emergency service folks ladle out the soup and volunteer for the event, Mathias said.

“People call us to participate. It’s pretty amazing,” she said.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at or 970-748-2984.

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