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Kew Gardens pottery studio joins forces with local bar to raise funds for food pantry

March 14, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

A Kew Gardens pottery studio will host its fifth annual event to raise money for a local food shelter next month.

The Potter’s Wheel studio, a Kew Gardens-based company that offers pottery and sculpture classes, will be hosting its annual Empty Bowls event on April 5 at Austin’s Ale House at 82-70 Austin Street to raise money for the River Fund, a local food pantry.

Each attendee, with a donation of $20, will receive an empty bowl donated by the Potter’s Wheel that will then be filled with a light meal of soup and bread donated by Austin’s Ale House. Participants will get to keep the bowls and all proceeds will go toward feeding the hungry.

“River Fund deals with thousands of people for whom hunger insecurity is a regular part of their lives,” said co-organizer Carol Lacks. “There are so many people that you would not know that there was any kind of problem in their lives, but who need the help just to eat.”

The event began five years ago, when a group of Kew Gardens volunteers learned of the Empty Bowls project that had spread across the world, and decided to host one in their own neighborhood to help the local community.

“It’s amazing, sometimes the line at River Fund stretches to 600, 800 or even 1,000 people that usually go completely unseen by society,” Lacks said.

The event typically generates more than $3,000 each year.

Last year, it raised enough to provide groceries to 275 families of four for a week.

Though Austin’s Ale House seats just under 70 people at maximum capacity, the event will have two seating times from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and from 7:30 to 9 p.m. to allow as many people to participate as possible.

Lacks said that the studio usually produces at least 200 bowls, and that even if they are not all sold at the event, those who were unable to attend or want more bowls can continue to purchase them for a $20 donation at The Potter’s Wheel at 120-33 83rd Avenue in the following weeks, until all are sold.

To reserve a seat at the event or to learn more visit

To learn more about River Fund visit

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