Empty Bowls continues sold out tradition in a new way

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Cathy Gibson and Sheri Swaim, of Yadkinville, drive through the Empty Bowls fundraiser for Yadkin Christian Ministries on Tuesday at The Yadkin Center. The fundraiser was held as a drive-through event for the first time due to the pandemic, but the same number of bowls of soup — 600 — were served as in previous years.

This year’s Empty Bowls event at The Yadkin Center on Tuesday was different, but also the same.

Once again, 600 bowls of soup were served.

And, like in previous years, the event sold out.

The difference was that the 2021 edition of the fundraiser for the Yadkin Christian Ministries food pantries was a drive-through event.

And it unfolded flawlessly.

“The Lord has blessed us with a beautiful day,” said Yadkin Christian Ministries Executive Director Beth Steelman. “The commitment of the community has once again amazed us.”

Donors were guided by the more than 30 volunteers through a car line, where a colorful windshield ticket indicated the number of servings that had been ordered from within each vehicle. From inside a staging area — filled with the aroma of vegetable beef soup made by Debbie’s Snack Bar — pairs of volunteers emerged to efficiently deliver packages of soup, salad, cookies and wrapped handmade bowls.

The car line moved smoothly, but not so quickly that volunteers didn’t have a few moments for warm exchanges with donors, most of whom seemed to be recognized by at least one volunteer on the team.

“We took a Chik-fil-A approach,” organizer Emmy Corn, of East Bend, explained of their drive-through format.

In previous years, attendees could browse the tables of pottery to personally select their own handmade bowl. Participating potters this year hailed from local towns all the way to Seagrove. In the past, many donors dined on lunch and often stayed to chat the afternoon away.

This year, bowls were luck-of-the-draw, and a dinner option was offered in addition to lunch service.

“The lunch crowd may be the smaller crowd,” observed Steelman.

Lisa Michals may be reached at 336-448-4968 or follow her on Twitter @lisamichals3.

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