It's another 4th of July and another 4 days of helping in the Empty Bowls booth for me. It's a busy, noisy, dusty and happy 4 days for me, too.
This annual event by the Oregon Potters Association raises money for The Oregon Food Bank. Last year, OPA raised over $20,000. Add that to an event that's been happening at The Waterfront Blues Festival for over 10 years and the total raised is almost $300,000! All going to put food on the tables of local people in need.
Yes, it's hard work. Yet every year, an incredible team from OPA dedicates their time to make this all happen.
They organize throw-a-thons where OPA members, local students and clay companies create clay pieces that will all be donated to the Empty Bowls event. The Glass Guild and OPA members also donate beautiful ceramic work. I'm glad to be one, making my small contribution.
Boxes and boxes and boxes are delivered bundled on huge palettes at the booth down by the waterfront. Dozens of OPA volunteers arrive to unload the shelves, set up the lights, unpack the boxes, price the work and get it out to sell. And the unpacking, pricing, shelving and selling continue for the next 4 days.
And more volunteers show up to do all in 3 hour shifts filling 12 hour days for 4 days. And some of the unsung heroes are the committee members who put in days at the booth and weeks before and after as well!
It's an amazing sight to see: a booth filled with clay work and a continuous line of happy people arms loaded with pots at the cash register.
What could be a better way to celebrate the 4th of July but to fill the empty bowls of people who live in my town. Now that's a great way to help everyone in their pursuit of happiness.