2017 Empty Bowls fundraiser a success

Dec. 6, 2017 — Florence Food Share held its 22nd annual Empty Bowl fundraiser last weekend at the Florence Events Center. More than 30 artisans contributed work to the silent auction and bowl sale.

Food Share Executive Director Norma Barton said the fundraiser was quite successful and the group will use the money raised for the ongoing expenses associated with running the organization.

“The money raised will go toward operating expenses,” Barton said.

She listed gas and insurance for the food share truck; insurance for the building and employees; office supplies; maintenance of refrigerators and freezers; staff payroll; janitorial costs; and garden maintenance and supplies for food share’s 15,000-square-foot garden.

In addition, she said operation costs include stamps and envelopes needed to send thank you cards and to send off grant applications.

One of the artists that has been participating in the Empty Bowls event for the last decade or so is Vicki Sieber-Benson. She estimates that she has thrown and donated thousands of pots to the fundraiser.

“I think the Empty Bowl event is the perfect metaphor for helping to stop hunger,” Sieber-Benson said. “We have many people in our community who have jobs and are still unable to make through the month with food. If I can do my part as a potter, I am happy to help.”

Barton also wants the community to know that while the agency has recently received an infusion of donations, the need is still there.

“The current state of our finances is that we have ongoing financial needs,” Barton said. “The need never stops. We do not get government or city funding or any tax related funding, so we always have a large need to keep our doors open. This never ends.”

One of Florence Food Share’s most popular fundraisers is the annual MacDuffee Crab Crack. The event features an all-you-can eat crab, coleslaw, pasta, dessert and garlic bread.

Unfortunately, the date of this year’s event is in question due to a current ban on crabbing along the Oregon coast. This is due to unsafe levels of domoic acid, a neurotoxin which is produced by unusually high algae levels.

“We cannot sell crab crack tickets until the commercial crabbing season opens in Oregon,” Barton said.

She said she is hopeful food share will be able to offer the event once state officials have tested the areas crab and pronounced them fit to eat.

The Crab Commission will be testing crab Dec. 7.

“If it passes inspection, we will begin selling the tickets on Dec. 8,” Barton said.

Other dates for testing are also lined up, including Jan.1, 2 and 15.

Florence Food Share also has an increased need for volunteers this holiday season as some longtime contributors have moved or are unable to help this holiday season.

Barton hopes that interested community members will give Ivy Meadow, Volunteer Coordinator, a call to find out about the various opportunities.

Florence Food Share is at 2190 Spruce St. It can be reached at 541-997-9110.

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