Culinary students making soup

CMC culinary students learn to prepare soup for the “Empty Bowls” fundraiser.

RIFLE – Organizers are busy getting ready for the fifth annual “Empty Bowls” luncheon on March 6 at Grand River Health’s Grand River Ballroom. The fundraiser – which provides a handcrafted bowl to keep, soup refills while they last, bread and beverages in exchange for a $20 donation – raises money for the Grand River Meals on Wheels program. And this year for the first time, veterans are free (just show your card at the door).

“Empty Bowls” is coordinated by staff from Grand River Health, and faculty and students from Colorado Mountain College Rifle. Kaaren Peck and Michelle McCurdy are both up to their elbows in clay as they plan the fifth annual “Empty Bowls.” For the first time, Peck, director of Grand River Meals on Wheels, is taking ceramics from McCurdy at CMC Rifle, bringing the event to a poetic full circle.

The idea for the collaboration started in 2015 with McCurdy, an adjunct ceramics instructor at Colorado Mountain College Rifle. It was a greater success than organizers dreamed. That first year the 187 bowls were sold out within 45 minutes. This year the ceramics students will have crafted almost 600 bowls and 36 gallons of soup for guests to choose from. The luncheon runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on March 6. CMC students will demonstrate bowl making at the pottery wheel throughout the event.

The hot soup will be made in Grand River Café by Rifle and Coal Ridge High School students who are in the college’s concurrent enrollment culinary program. The students receive both high school and college credit for their culinary studies and internships under Chef Patrick Aulik at Grand River Health. Each team of students will be serving their soup creations and are eager to talk about their culinary choices.

Empty Bowls bowl

One of almost 600 bowls that will be sold at the “Empty Bowls” lunch.

Although the fundraiser is a locally focused effort, it’s based on national and international models. Across the country and around the world, March for Meals and the Empty Bowls Project conduct ongoing events to raise money and bring awareness about hunger issues and provides funds to food distribution efforts.

March for Meals ‘Empty Bowls’ Luncheon

A fundraising partnership with Colorado Mountain College Rifle’s ceramics and culinary students for Grand River Meals on Wheels

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on March 6

Where: Grand River Health’s Grand River Ballroom, 501 Airport Road, Rifle

How much: $20 includes a student-crafted ceramic bowl and soup lunch prepared by Colorado Mountain College culinary students

Why: To raise money for Grand River Meals on Wheels, and to bring public awareness about those among us living with hunger insecurity

Contact: Kaaren Peck, director of Grand River Meals on Wheels, 970-625-6423