Empty bowls initiative works to feed area residents

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SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — When you think of an empty bowl – it may lead to thoughts of chores like washing the dishes or what you’re making for dinner. But this time of year, it’s also a focus to feed the hungry in Southwest Missouri.

Mark Strayer, Lamar Artist, said, “I call it a hobby out of control.”

Because Mark Strayer spends more time on his pottery than his day job. He started learning the craft years ago.

“You’re glazing, you’re decorating, thinking of the trimming – there’s a lot.”

And while he works on sales through local shops and online venues throughout the year, in the fall he focuses on empty bowls.

“Associated from the beginning and this is the 8th year. I’ve progressively been making more and contributing more each year.”

He’s already donated 175 bowls to the Joplin effort, and another 50 to a similar project in Benton County.

“It serves the community and I really have sort of a calling to help those that don’t have.”

He’s just one of many donating his pottery.

“Jeff Jones at the Clay Cup in Neosho, in Diamond – they’re contributing quite a few bowls, Linda Brown.”

And those bowls are already on pre-sale, offered through the Joplin Greenhouse much of the week.

Travis Hurley, Watered Gardens, said, “It really is a blessing not only to Watered Gardens, but Hope Kitchen Neosho and We Care – all these get to benefit from the creativity of these potters like Mark.”

Empty Bowls will be held November 19th.

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