Catholic Charities Hosts Successful Empty Bowls Fundraiser

bowls on table at NDHS

As the largest fundraiser specifically for Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services, this event raises awareness of the effects of poverty and hunger in our communities. Attendees experience a simple lunch of soup and bread in solidarity with those living in poverty. Empty Bowls is unique in the collaboration with local potters to create handmade, commemorative bowls for attendees. There is also a partnership with Barb & Mark McClure, owners of Barb’s Soup’s On in Elmira, to offer guests delicious homemade soup. It was the perfect combination of excellent food, beautiful bowls, and a worthy cause.

The Empty Bowls Campaign was able to raise over $17,000 to serve those in our community who turn to Catholic Charities for support. These funds will provide food and personal hygiene items through two pantries, The Samaritan Center and Schuyler Outreach, and delicious meals through the Elmira Community Kitchen.

Nancy Koons, Catholic Charities’ Executive Director, commented, “During challenges like this pandemic, I am reminded of how we continue to accomplish our mission with the generosity of our community. Together, we offer hope by empowering individuals and families to reach self-sufficiency and bring comfort to those who are alone and in need.”

Father Scott Kubinski, the Pastor of the Parish of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, shared the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching. He encouraged each attendee to use those themes to make a difference in our local communities.

This year’s award was given to the Catholic Charities’ Staff in recognition of their hard work through the COVID-19 pandemic. The work of Catholic Charities never ceased. Staff exhibited creativity and resiliency in meeting the needs of those who required their services. Creative means of to-go meals were employed at the Elmira Community Kitchen. Pre-packed food boxes were available at the pantries. Case Managers made dozens of phone calls each day to monitor mental health and transitioned to outdoor meetings when possible. Domestic violence services and advocacy were provided virtually. School supplies and holiday meals were distributed at outdoor and drive-through events. Nancy commended the Staff for proving they can go above and beyond any barrier that stands in their way.

Special thanks goes out to Notre Dame High School which hosted the event this year. The support of their Staff and Students was greatly appreciated.

Catholic Charities recognizes the potters and their students who contribute handmade bowls each year: Gene Carr, Retired; Corning Community College Students and Fred Herbst; Elmira College Students and Chris Longwell; Elmira High School Students and Susan Pabody; Doug Holtgrewe, Retired; Notre Dame High School Students and Hannah Leeber.

Corporate Sponsors of the event included Saratoga Eagle (formerly Seneca Beverage Corporation); Chemung Canal Trust Company; Elmira Savings Bank, Elmira Structures, The Hilliard Corporation, Wegmans; Gough Holding Corporation, Kennedy Valve, Maguire Chrysler of Watkins Glen, and Visions Federal Credit Union.

Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services provides homeless services, rental assistance, food pantries, free meals, and prescription drug assistance in Chemung and Schuyler Counties. Anyone in need of assistance may call 607-734-9784.

To make a donation to support these services, visit Catholic Charities’ website at If you are interested in volunteering or hosting a supply drive, please contact Katie Rhodes at 607-317-5577 or send a message through the website.

Empty Bowls Presentation at NDHS