South Whidbey Record


Good Cheer takes bowls from empty to full

South Whidbey Record General assignment
October 26, 2013 · Updated 2:15 PM

Volunteers Mary Richardson, Kathy McCabe and Rita Burns serve several types of soup during the Good Cheer Empty Bowl Soup Night on Sunday. More than 130 people attended the event. / Celeste Erickson / The Record

Community members broke bread together for the Good Cheer Empty Bowl Soup Night on Sunday at Bayview Hall.

The Oct. 20 event featured 10 different soups from the Good Cheer kitchen along with staple soups from Neil’s Clover Patch, Muk Cafe and Useless Bay Coffee. Bread was provided by the new bakery at Living Green.

Bowls were donated by Good Cheer and Whidbey Island Nourishes.

Shawn Nowlin, community outreach coordinator for Good Cheer, said the meal of soup and bread was chosen to show what the food bank clients go through during the winter months and how they can stretch the dollar with these meals.

More than $3,100 was raised from bowls and mugs purchased at the event. Bowls sold for $20 and mugs for $5. More than 130 people attended the event.

The money raised will help Good Cheer pay for local produce throughout the winter season, Nowlin said. The event is part of the food bank’s Fresh Food on the Table program, which aims to bring in produce and provide needed cash flow for local farmers through winter months.

“More than anything it’s a community dinner,” Nowlin said. “We wanted to do something as a community meal, and it’s been great.”

Susan Gilles, a Clinton resident, helped organize the showing of “A Place at the Table” at the Clyde before the soup event. The documentary analyzes the issue of hunger in America and how it could be solved by following three Americans and their struggles with hunger. The showing was co-sponsored by Langley United Methodist Church, St. Hubert Catholic Church, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Unity of Whidbey, Whidbey Island Friends Meeting, Good Cheer and Whidbey Island Nourishes. Donations were collected to benefit Bread for the World, Good Cheer and Whidbey Island Nourishes.

Gilles, a registered nurse who is retired, said she saw a lot of patients who were homeless and hungry; it’s always been an important issue for her.

Gilles said the documentary is a unique film and she hopes it reinforces the community in continuing their support of Good Cheer.

Mary Fisher, of Whidbey Island Nourishes, said it was her second time seeing the movie and the film continued to be an eye-opener.

Fisher said she didn’t know how critical it was to balance nutrition in the first three years of a child’s life, until she saw the film.

Whidbey is fortunate to have an amazing community with people who are actively trying to do something, she said.

Rita Burns, a volunteer at Good Cheer, watched the movie and helped serve soup Sunday afternoon. She said coming from the film made her realize how food-insecure the nation is.

“I’m happy to be here with a community who wants to support the food bank,” she said.


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