Central Carroll: The Shepherd’s Staff filling soup bowls to support those with ‘Empty Bowls’

Handmade ceramic bowls are examined by guests at The Shepherd's Staff's Empty Bowls fundraiser in 2019.
Handmade ceramic bowls are examined by guests at The Shepherd's Staff's Empty Bowls fundraiser in 2019. (Phil Grout / For Carroll County Times)

The Shepherd’s Staff will hold its fourth annual Empty Bowls of Carroll County event on Sunday, April 5 at St. John Roman Catholic Church’s Portico in Westminster. Tickets for this soup-sampling extravaganza are on sale now.

When you purchase a ticket for $20, you’ll have an opportunity to sample 20 soups, provided by the area’s best restaurants. You can choose tickets for the following times: 11 a.m. to noon, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., or 2 to 3 p.m. The ticket price includes soup, bread, water and a ceramic soup bowl to take home, as a reminder of those whose bowls remain empty.


Soups will be provided and served by the following restaurants: Baugher’s, Blue Bistro, Bud's at Silver Run, The Buttersburg Inn, The Food Chick, Forbidden City, LunaZul, Maggie's, Mediterraneo, Michael’s of Hampstead, Molli's Café, O'Lordan's Irish Pub, Oscar's Alehouse, Rafael’s, Rare Opportunity Bakehouse, RockSalt Grille, and Sergio’s. Coffee will be provided by Furnace Hills Coffee. Desserts and soft drinks will also be available for an additional donation.

“Our Empty Bowls event has become one of our favorite fundraisers, and we are excited to host it again this year," said The Shepherd’s Staff’s executive director, Brenda Meadows. “We are grateful to have the support of so many local restaurants, who will be providing and serving their soups, and St. John Catholic Church for providing a beautiful location.”


At several events throughout the county, folks have been busy painting bowls to donate to the event. COB51 in Westminster, Sykesville Pottery and Arts, Shiloh Pottery in Hampstead, Meltdown DIY Art Studio in Eldersburg, and Firehouse Pottery and Arts in Taneytown have all held events.

If you have a group that is interested in painting and donating a bowl for The Shepherd’s Staff, please contact any of the above studios to arrange a date and time. You can find them online.

“We are also grateful for the generosity of all the students, community groups, and volunteers that will be providing handcrafted bowls to give to attendees, and of course for all who attend and support this event,” Meadows said.

This is a family-friendly event, open to all, and the proceeds benefit The Shepherd’s Staff’s Emergency and Crisis Assistance Programs. The Shepherd’s Staff, located in Westminster, is a Christian outreach and support center serving those in need in Carroll County since 1991.

For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to volunteer, please contact The Shepherd’s Staff at 410-857-5944 or info@shepstaff.org. Tickets can be purchased online at https://emptybowls2020.bpt.me.

Family Bingo Night at Westminster Elementary

Support Westminster Elementary School, win prizes and have loads of fun at the PTO’s Family Bingo Night at the school on Friday, March 27 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

“The Westminster Elementary School PTO has held their Bingo Night Fundraiser for many years,” said Jen Jones, PTO member and committee chair. “This is my third year as committee chair. We have had over 400 attendees in the past.”

Presale tickets are available until Monday, March 23. According to Jones, presale tickets are available at EventBrite online (search for “Westminster Elementary Bingo”) for $9. There is also a link on the Westminster Elementary School Panda PTO Facebook page.

“This includes a free dauber, your game pad of three [games on each of] 15 games of bingo, expedited pick-up/check-in line and some reserved seating,” Jones said of the presale tickets.

The price at the door is $10 per adult or $5 per child (11 years and younger), and Daubers will cost $1 each.

“We have all types of prize baskets,” Jones said. “The game prizes range from restaurant gift cards, toys, books, household items, activity gift cards, art supplies, sports equipment and more. We also have many door prizes and awesome raffle prizes.”

Jones said past raffles have included American Girl dolls, guitars, Hershey Park tickets, FitBit, Google Home, Bluetooth speakers, LuLaRoe leggings, 31 bags, Pampered Chef items, Rodan and Fields skin care, and many more. They are still accepting donations from local businesses and welcome any and all donations, including merchandise and gift cards for prizes, food, and monetary donations. Because the PTO is a fund of the Community Foundation of Carroll County, donations are tax deductible.


“We will also happily advertise for your company or organization on the night of the event,” Jones said of those who donate.

Also look for a 50/50 drawing. Raffle and 50/50 tickets will be sold at the event. Raffle tickets are one for $1 or 15 for $10; 50/50 tickets are one for $1 or six for $5.

Come hungry because the PTO will also have pizza, hot dogs, chips, drinks, candy for sale, plus a baked goods table with lots of yummy goodies.

“Westminster Elementary School PTO’s Family Bingo Night is an affordable, fun event for all ages,” Jones said. “This year’s fundraising efforts will primarily go to our New Playground Equipment fund. Please join us for great prizes, food, fun and to support our school.”

Westminster Elementary School is located at 811 Uniontown Road.

Spaghetti fundraiser for volleyball athletes

Attend a spaghetti dinner on Friday, March 6, at 5 p.m. at Faith Family Church in Finksburg, and you will be helping a local Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) team make it to volleyball nationals in Orlando, Florida, from June 25 to 28.

According to FCA fundraiser Rebecca Shields, their Team Fearless consists of local 16-year-old girls.

“We are a faith-based volleyball team,” Shields said. “Because of their higher skill set, the Maryland FCA chose this team and another team [of 17-year-old girls] to go to nationals.”

At the dinner, you will find a menu of spaghetti, salad, bread, a beverage, and your choice of chocolate or yellow cake for dessert. The cost of the dinner (dine-in or carryout) is a donation of any amount, although $10 is suggested.

Proceeds will pay for travel expenses for Team Fearless, the 16U FCA Maryland Volleyball team, though the athletes have to pay for their lodging and meals, Shields said.

“FCA encourages athletes to not only compete at their best physical sports ability," Shields said, "but also to glorify Christ in all that they do.”

Faith Family Church is located at 4150 Sykesville Road in Finksburg.

For more information, or to make a donation, call Shields at 301-514-9436.

Lois Szymanski covers Finksburg, Gamber, Pleasant Valley, Reese, Sandymount, Silver Run, Smallwood, Union Mills and Westminster. Reach her at 443-293-7811 or LoisSzymanski@hotmail.com.

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