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Empty Bowls charity helps fill coffers of The Pantry in Oxford

A long line stretched through the Oxford Conference Center all in the name of getting some soup.

But this wasn’t regular soup that was being served late Tuesday morning-it was part of the fundraiser held by the charitable group Empty Bowls. The proceeds from this event went to The Pantry in Oxford to help those in need who may not have enough to buy food.

For $20, those who came to the Conference Center received a handmade bowl and some homemade soup to go in it. The bowls were created by local artists while the food was provided by 24 restaurants within the county.

Dorothy Laurenzo, a committee member for Empty Bowls, says that this is the 14th year the event has been held.

“Empty Bowls is not just a local event, it’s international,” Laurenzo said. “An art teacher in Michigan came up with it as a way to raise money for their local food pantry. Empty Bowls raises money for a town’s local food bank.”

Laurenzo said that this year, there were 864 bowls available. In the past, they have had 1,000 people show up to the fundraiser. This was the first year that Empty Bowls was held at the Conference Center as Empty Bowls’ usual location, the Oxford-University United Methodist Church, is currently going through renovations.

“(This event) means a lot for the Pantry,” she added. “It’s our only fundraiser. The food for the Pantry comes from private donations, the money that we raise at Empty Bowls and from some government food banks, as well. It is very helpful to have the money that we raise in February from Empty Bowls to go throughout the year to buy groceries for people who are in need.”