We trudged upstream against a tide of chattering youngsters who were carrying treats and projects in their hands, rushing toward their parents with a mild and sunny Sunday afternoon awaiting them. Jennifer and I were headed in the opposite direction, indoors, to partake in a local endeavor to raise funds to fight hunger.
We purchased our meal tickets inside Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard and entered a room filled with welcoming warmth and graciousness. Volunteers generously ladled hearty soup into disposable bowls, inviting us to take some bread and directing us to where we could help ourselves to drinks. We balanced our food – along with our chosen ceramic bowls – as we searched for empty seats, taking in the tantalizing aroma of hot soup amid the din of conversation.
My soup choice, minestrone, was flavorful and filling. Jennifer and I chatted, as mothers and daughters do, and we shared casual conversations with good folks around us who were participating in this worthy fundraiser whose mission is to fight hunger in Du Page County.
The ceramic bowls were hand crafted by local artisans and children of the temple. I believe they were made at Congregation Etz Chaim then taken to be fired in a kiln elsewhere. Every bowl was unique and personal to the craftsperson who made it. I imagined experienced potters and young students trying their hand at pottery for the first time. Our ticket purchase allowed each of us to select a bowl from a colorfully unique array of choices.
The green bowl was my choice. Actually, I think I was the bowl’s choice. It seemed to call to me to pick it up, run my hand along the rim, and take it as my own. I know I will cherish it and that it will remain a tactile, visual, useful reminder that there are those among us who suffer with hunger – and those among us who strive to eradicate it. It will remind me of the blessings that are the hearts that conceived this fundraiser, of the hands that prepared the meal, of the hosts and hostesses who welcomed diners to Congregation Etz Chaim and of the supporting local organizations that have a hand in shepherding this project. It will also be a reminder of my own blessings and of the urgent need to feed all God’s children.
The Garry Gardner Memorial Bowls for Hunger Project is an “Empty Bowls Project”. The “Empty Bowls Project” is an international grassroots effort to raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger. The mission is to create positive and lasting change through the arts, education, and projects that build. community. *
*From Congregation Etz Chaim’s website which can be found here.