Hundreds enjoy, give at 'Empty Bowls' event

12th annual soup gathering helps NeighborImpact help those in need

'Empty Bowls' event draws hundreds

BEND, Ore. - What better way to bring people together for a good cause on a chilly day than hot, tasty soup served up in hand-crafted bowls? More than 700 agreed Sunday at NeighborImpact's 12th annual "Empty Bowls" event.

"Central Oregon is rare in that you have community support, and the community is very vibrant and wants to help other people," said the agency's communications manager, Chris Quaka.

One of those people was Cheryl Howard.

"One of the benefits of an event like this is that as it grows and grows every year, it brings more and more awareness to those in need in our community," Howard said.

NeighborImpact, a 21 Cares for Kids partner, feeds 20,000 people a month and generates 3.3 million pounds of food to be distributed throughout Central Oregon.

Not only is the event their primary fundraiser, but it's also their primary "friend-raiser," an event that showcases people helping people.

"We do pay attention to the needs of people who are less fortunate, and we do rally around and try to take care of our own" said Executive Director Scott Cooper. "And this is an event that just demonstrates that one more time."

Quaka believes with the amount of people willing to help others in Central Oregon, the community will be in good hands.

"There are a lot of people who want to give back, and I think what I've seen in Central Oregon throughout the years is so many people coming forward and saying 'How can I help? How can I give back?'" Quaka said. "And to see that increase year after year lets you know that our community will be strong for years to come."

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