Salvation Army Empty Bowls benefit lunch helps fill local food banks |

Salvation Army Empty Bowls benefit lunch helps fill local food banks

Finished bowls for the Empty Bowls benefit are seen at the Edwards Colorado Mountain College ceremics studio on July 28. The bowls will be available to the public during the annual Empty Bowls lunch benefit for the Salvation Army at Battle Mountain High School on Friday, Aug. 7.
Townsend Bessent | |

If You Go

What: Salvation Army’s annual Empty Bowls benefit lunch

When: Noon-1:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Battle Mountain High School

Cost: $20. For that you get soup, bread and dessert created by some of the area’s best restaurants, and you get to keep the hand-made bowl.

Information: To buy advance tickets, go by the Salvation Army office in Avon by the rodeo arena, or call 970-748-0704. You can buy tickets at the door, but it’d be helpful if you bought them ahead of time.

EDWARDS — The Salvation Army spends about 20 bucks for every box of food it provides to people who need it.

That works out well because a ticket to Friday, Aug. 7’s Empty Bowls luncheon costs $20.

“Everyone can afford $20 to go to a charity function,” said Tsu Wolin-Brown, director of the local Salvation Army.

For that you get soup, bread and dessert from some of the area’s best restaurants.

“Plus you get an empty bowl to take home to remind you that there’s hunger in the world and in the valley,” Wolin-Brown said.

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It’s styled after a soup kitchen, but those soups are created in some of the area’s best restaurants.

Get there early because people tend to get competitive about who gets which bowl created by their favorite artist, Wolin-Brown said.

The same is true for the soups. It’s great for people who want to sample soups from several local chefs, Wolin-Brown said.

“Some of the chefs even get a little competitive,” Wolin-Brown said.

Lots of empty bowls

This is their seventh annual event.

“That’s a lot of empty bowls,” Wolin-Brown said.

It all started when Diana Mathias went to a similar event in Taos, New Mexico.

“I thought, ‘That would be something we should do here!’ And so we did,” Mathias said.

Mathias, Terry Smith and Annie Breckheimer got it rolling and keep it rolling.

“It’s great because the Salvation Army does so much for so many people,” Mathias said.

Everyone donates everything.

“Every dime goes right to our food pantry,” Wolin-Brown said.

Food for all

It’s fun, but the purpose is serious.

It’s a benefit for the Salvation Army’s food pantries, which are under strain like never before.

“It gets depleted regularly,” Wolin-Brown said.

That’s because, even with the purportedly improving economy, hundreds of families and households ask for some sort of help every month. One-fourth of the Salvation Army’s budget is spent on food assistance. They also help subsidize the food pantry in Eagle at the United Methodist Church. They economize in every way they can, Wolin-Brown said, but each box of food the Salvation Army provides still costs between $20 and $30.

Since everything for the Empty Bowls event is donated, a ticket will almost cover the cost of a box of food for a family. Families get things like fruits and vegetables, nonperishable canned food like soup and tuna, pasta, cereal and other items. Food is being provided by: Tavern on the Square, Cucina, Golden Eagle, Sonnenalp, Vail Resorts, Splendido, Grouse Mountain Grill, Avon Bakery & Deli, Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli, Alpenrose and Westside Cafe.

The bowls were made by Margie Westerman, CMC Potters, Alpine Arts Center and Crazed Peacock.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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