Two sisters organize 'Empty Bowls by the Lake' to feed the hungry

Several groups, artists and individuals are painting bowls for this year’s event, including area students and local potters.

Autumn is here – ideal soup weather – and two local women are making it their mission to feed needy families by serving up a smorgasbord of soups from area restaurants and supermarkets. If you’re looking for something delicious to do, save the date for Empty Bowls by the Lake, Saturday, Oct. 12, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bleser Park in Avon Lake. (Bleser Park is on Electric Blvd. just west of Avon Lake City Hall, 150 Avon-Belden Road.)  

Sisters Laura Kirchner of Avon Lake and Linda Brown of Bay Village are behind the local effort. The event raises money to feed the region’s hungry while allowing participants to enjoy freshly baked bread and more than 20 soups. A $20 donation provides a hand-painted pottery bowl, unlimited soup and bread and live musical entertainment from local artists, including the Avon Electric Orchestra. Admission for children ages 6-12 is $5 (does not include a bowl). Children 5 and under are free. Disposable bowl liners are provided.

A basket raffle and silent auction are also planned with opportunities to win such items as a Put-in-Bay for a Day package (includes ferry tickets, golf cart rental and dinner), Cavs tickets, stand-up paddleboarding lessons for four and a barbershop quartet performance at a party of your choice.

Kirchner and Brown organized Empty Bowls by the Lake last year after Kirchner visited her parents in Naples, Fla., and attended an event there. The inaugural event in Avon Lake raised more than $5,000 for local food banks. Kirchner and Brown hope to grow both awareness and participation this year. “Hunger and poverty are serious issues nationally and around the world,” Kirchner said. “Linda and I wanted to do something to help raise awareness as well as funds.” Proceeds will go to the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio and Community Resource Services, a social service agency assisting needy families in Avon and Avon Lake.

Several groups, artists and individuals are contributing bowls to this year’s event, including students from Avon Lake elementary schools, Bay High School, Lake Ridge Academy in North Ridgeville, Olmsted Falls High School and Sheffield Middle School. More than 100 bowls will be contributed by local potters Tom and Linette Mercer and Sarah Costic from the Richfield Art Studio. Put-in-Bay residents are contributing bowls from a bowl-painting party held earlier this summer, and the Avon Lake United Church of Christ is planning a bowl-painting party Sept. 23 to support the event. 

Kirchner and Brown are still accepting auction items for the basket raffle and silent auction as well as community volunteers to assist at the event. For more information, visit, or contact Kirchner at 440-263-5632 or via email:

LJ Henrichsen

LJ Henrichsen is a resident of Avon Lake.

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Volume 5, Issue 20, Posted 9:44 AM, 10.01.2013