The Empty Bowl Dinner, the annual fund-raiser hosted by the Open Door food pantry and service agency, has become an outstanding community project on several fronts.
The hand-decorated soup bowls – some of which are sold at a silent auction, most of which are used for the meal and then taken home by diners — are created with hands from virtually every corner of the community, by career artists, schoolchildren, elderly residents painting at a local senior center, or elected officials and local business leaders. And Thursday night’s event represents a diverse community gathering in its own right, with up to 1,000 people expected to take part.
But for all its colorful and celebratory aspects, Open Door Executive Director Julie LaFontaine is right to remind all participants that the Empty Bowl Dinner has a clear purpose and message. And she deserves credit for telling diners and artists alike to remember that each of these creative bowls is not a souvenir, but a “reminder that, somewhere, someone’s bowl is empty.”
That “somewhere” is more likely to be right here in Gloucester and around Cape Ann than a lot of residents may want to think. LaFontaine noted that The Open Door provided some services to one in every six Gloucester families last year. And that is a figure that none of us should forget.
We hope the Empty Bowl Dinner, set for Thursday at Cruiseport Gloucester from 4 to 8 p.m., once again draws the support it deserves. But we also hope its important message is driven home to all as well — not just Thursday night, but throughout the year.