Empty Bowls Project aids homeless

Empty Bowls Project aids homeless

Luncheon benefit at Puritan & Co., Inman Square

Photo: On The Rise board member Josh Gerber (left), President Carol Goss (right), and Puritan service manager Meghan Dahl (center) with bowls made by local potters.

More than 100 people made their way through ice and snow to the Puritan & Company restaurant, 1166 Cambridge Street, on Saturday, March 7, for the Second Annual Empty Bowls Project. Empty Bowls is an international undertaking to fight hunger. In return for a donation of $30, each participant received a lunch of soup and bread and chose a hand-made ceramic bowl to take home.

Local pottery studios and restaurants provided artisan bowls and hearty soups for the event, which benefits On The Rise, Inc., a day program at 341 Broadway for homeless women. Martha Sandler, the executive director, thanked organizers and contributors.

"Even if the weather hasn't delivered much warmth, this event really does - so many friends and families and volunteers gathering around these delicious soups and beautiful bowls. Our Board member Josh Gerber, of the 1369 Coffee Houses, rallied an exceptional group of sponsors, and Puritan & Co. gave us the perfect venue," she said.

Bowls

The colorful bowls were created and donated by potters at the Feet of Clay Studio in Brookline and the MIT Student Art Association. The soups and baskets of bread lining the counters were provided by Puritan & Company, 1369 Coffee House, City Girl Café, Trina’s Starlite Lounge, the East Coast Grill, Olé Mexican Grill, East by Northeast, and Nashoba Brook Bakery.

It was a sociable affair, with kids coloring and playing cards in a corner booth, pottery fanciers comparing notes, and families and friends around the tables. On The Rise board members, staff, and volunteers welcomed guests, helped with service and managed the raffle for Red Sox tickets, skiing at Wachusett Mountain, and Toscanini’s ice cream. Puritan Service Manager Meghan Dahl coordinated the action.

On The Rise serves women from Cambridge and nearby. Homelessness is just the tip of the iceberg for many of them, since it is often associated with other issues such as domestic abuse, mental or physical illness, addiction, and unemployment. The program is located in a three-story Victorian house, where it offers basics to start with: a welcome at the door, a meal, a safe place to spend the day, a phone. Women who feel ready to move on and address their situations at another level can count on guidance, relevant programs, and referrals by professional staff. About 400 women seek help there each year.