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Empty Bowls Project packs Carroll center

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

For the fourth straight year, community members clamored for hand-crafted bowls to support the Community Kitchen of Paducah. For the fourth straight year, the line to get in to the Empty Bowls Project of Paducah stretched down hallways and around corners. And for the fourth straight year, organizer Michael Terra was gracious for the support his community has shown.

"We've had more participation from the Paducah School of Art, we have more volunteers than ever," Terra said, beaming, on Saturday.

The Empty Bowls Project kicked off Saturday afternoon at the Julian M. Carroll Convention Center. The event was the finale to months of planning and hundreds of volunteer hours. Groups around the community - from churches to charities, businesses to political leaders - took turns glazing bowls throughout the year to help Terra and his family finish with 1,564 bowls, which were all put out on tables at the Convention Center.

Each visitor paid $15 for a bowl, and in turn was fed with unlimited food from 15 local restaurants. The bowls go home with their new owners, something Terra hopes reminds them of giving year-round.

"My hope is that all of the bowls that have been made go home to wonderful families, and all of those wonderful families who adopt bowls are reminded of how much they have," Terra said. "Then, if they would just take a moment or two to share that with the people who don't have as much as they do, it would make a difference."

Terra and his family donated $20,000 of proceeds to the Community Kitchen last year, through both bowl sales and a silent auction held throughout the day. Etcetera Coffeehouse owner and Paducah City Commissioner Allan Rhodes, who participated in the event, said it's a community project that makes the city proud.

"It's the right thing to do, and who wouldn't want to do this?" Rhodes said while handing out free coffee to patrons. "You can help the community and have a lot of fun while you are giving back. What this event does is make the community a better place."

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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