Vail Today: Empty Bowls event helps fill the Vail Salvation Army food bank (video) | VailDaily.com

Vail Today: Empty Bowls event helps fill the Vail Salvation Army food bank (video)

By Tricia Swenson | Vail Today

In an area as affluent as the Vail Valley it's hard to believe that hunger exists. Surprisingly, nearly 500 households utilize the Vail Valley Salvation Army's food pantry every month. Empty Bowls, an annual fundraiser held each August at the Battle Mountain High School, strives to fill the void on the food bank's shelves.

Empty Bowls was started nine years ago to help supplement the cost of replenishing the shelves at the food bank. The Battle Mountain high school cafeteria is set up like a soup kitchen and features some of the valley's favorite restaurants serving up not only soups, but also homemade bread and delicious desserts. Some of the flavors included lobster bisque, vegetable barely and a seasonal gazpacho.

Diana Mathias, of Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate, discovered this event while visiting friends in Santa Fe, NM and realized it could be replicated in Vail. The community pitched in and 100 percent of the ticket price goes to the food pantry.

The Vail Salvation Army's symbolic "Red Kettle" campaign that you see at area grocery stores around the holidays earns quite a bit of the money needed to replenish the food bank, but with the need being so great, the shelves get a little bare this time of year. "Our community is so generous and there is an outpouring of generosity around the holidays. This event adds a boost during a time of the year when the pantry really needs some help," said Terri Reichert, who is with the organizing committee.

Along with the meal, there are beautiful pottery bowls for each participant to take home. Handcrafted by local and regional potters, these empty bowls signify hunger in our valley.

Beyond food, the Vail Valley Salvation Army also provides assistance with rent, utilities, prescriptions, and emergency transport. Sometimes a medical crisis or a sudden loss of a job can be the one thing that determines needing the assistance of the Salvation Army or not. Learn more by visiting http://www.salvationarmyvail.org.