At their weekly meeting Wednesday, Soroptimist International Ashland presented $4,800, the proceeds from Empty Bowls, to four local agencies: ACCESS, Food for People, Uncle Food's Diner, and Ashland Emergency Food Bank.




Sharon Thorndike, from Oregon Food Bank, spoke about current hunger issues in Oregon during the meeting. Thorndike said that hunger is a growing problem in Oregon and in Ashland, with more skilled workers and more families squeezed by higher prices and the housing crisis, seeking help from food banks. Thorndike also said that, with grocery store scanners providing better inventory control, there is less food for food banks.




Empty Bowls was a pottery sale of more than 700 ceramic bowls and other items donated by potters from Clayfolk, Ashland Artworks, and other local artists and students from Southern Oregon University and local schools. Thorndike Gallery bustled with activity during April's First Friday Artwalk as locals browsed and purchased from the wide assortment of ceramics, partaking of the wine and snacks, and the music of Joel Handley.




The Schneider Museum of Art and the SOU Art Department joined with the Soroptimists to bring awareness about the hunger problem in this community and to do something about it.




Local restaurants also participated by donating bowls of soup, which were sold as $5 coupons at the event. Participating restaurants were: Agave, Ashland Bistro Cafe, Breadboard, Dragonfly, Geppettoes, Greenleaf, Louie's, Munchies, Pilaf, SOU Library Coffee.




Soroptimist is an international organization serving women and girls locally and globally. This was their ninth annual Empty Bowls event.