Empty Bowls fills coffers in Lee’s Summit

rpulley@lsjournal.comFebruary 5, 2014 

Ice didn’t stop Lee’s Summit Sunrise Rotary from delivering for One Good Meal, a service that provides meals to Lee’s Summit shut-ins.

The Empty Bowls fundraiser Feb. 1 at Longview Mansion is expected to give the not-for-profit agency about $12,000 from ticket sales and other donations (the final tally isn’t complete.)

Bob Paradise, chairman for this year’s Empty Bowls, said the event traditionally sells between 300-350 tickets in advance (the number is limited because of space.) Each ticket holder can choose a ceramic bowl crafted by local artists.

The event was well-attended, even with icy conditions on roads from a storm the previous day. Attendees voted for best dessert, soup and bread from area restaurants that are there to give samples.

The winners for 2014 were:

• The Fig Tree Cafe & Bakery, best dessert

• Monetti’s Taste of Italy, best bread

• Summit Grill and Bar, best soup

Paradise thanked the restaurants and artists who contributed to the event.

“There were a lot of good bowls this year, from good artists,” Paradise said.

Dayton Runkle, board president for One Good Meal, said that with the contribution from the fundraiser and those that came in December, the agency is in better shape than early in the year.

“Empty Bowls has just been huge, it’s just done so much for One Good Meal,” Runkle said “We usually end up with a couple of bucks, and they’ll vanish.”

The difficulty is that during the year, giving typically drops off, so the agency has a deficit of about $130 a day, that’s with having all volunteer drivers and administration. The agency can always use more drivers and cooks who contribute cookies, he said.

He said all three Rotary clubs have been helpful providing drivers and monetary contributions.

One Good Meal Executive Director Roberta McArthur said the agency’s financial situation is slowly improving because of a focus on getting new corporate sponosors.

She said that a company that can raise about $1,020 can feed a client who can’t afford to pay anything for one year. The agency provides meals at cost of $4 or less, on a sliding scale dependent on what clients can afford.

The city’s three Rotary clubs have agreed and two businesses have agreed to sponsorships, McArthur said.

“I’m on my way,” she said.

The small agency now has about 90 clients, about 30 of them need to be fully subsidized, she said.

“I’m so grateful for the way people showed up, all my board was there, and it was such a beautiful night, with the weather being as iffy as it was,” McArthur said.

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