web1_web0412EmptyBowls03

Group seeks to fill bowls, inform

By Emily Webb

Daily News intern

LaGrange College students glaze bowls for the upcoming Circles of Troup County Empty Bowls Dinner.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_web0412EmptyBowls01.jpgLaGrange College students glaze bowls for the upcoming Circles of Troup County Empty Bowls Dinner. Contributed | Circles of Troup County
LaGrange College student Shelby Stephen glazes a bowl to be used at the upcoming Circles of Troup County Empty Bowls Dinner.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_web0412EmptyBowls02.jpgLaGrange College student Shelby Stephen glazes a bowl to be used at the upcoming Circles of Troup County Empty Bowls Dinner. Contributed | Circles of Troup County
LaGrange College professor Austin Wieland holds one of the bowls he made for the upcoming Circles of Troup County Empty Bowls Dinner.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_web0412EmptyBowls03.jpgLaGrange College professor Austin Wieland holds one of the bowls he made for the upcoming Circles of Troup County Empty Bowls Dinner. Contributed | Circles of Troup County

LaGRANGE — A local nonprofit will host a specialized soup dinner Thursday to raise awareness of its role in the community.

Circles of Troup County, founded in 2012 with the goal of helping local families in generational poverty move to self-sufficiency, will host its fourth Empty Bowl Dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Del’Avant Event Center. The event is aimed at giving people a look at those who have taken part in the program.

“This event allows you to put faces to statistics. We’re going to be able to introduce you to people whose lives have changed because of Circles. Meeting these people puts a face to the numbers,” said Sherri Brown, director of Circles of Troup County. “… We’ve worked with 34 families, which is more than 150 people, including children. If you stay with us for six months or longer, there’s an average 119 percent increase in income, a 56 percent reduction in debt and a 366 percent increase in assets.”

The drop-in dinner will have different people speak throughout the night. There will also be games, T-shirts for sale and a raffle for tickets to the Willie Nelson concert at Sweetland Amphitheatre on May 29.

Guests will be able to pick out a bowl, and various soups will be available. Afterward, guests can take their bowl. The bowls were created by LaGrange College ceramics professor Austin Wieland and glazed by students.

“LaGrange College has been a partner with us from the very beginning,” Brown said. “They’ve been a great partner. We could not do this without them.”

According to the Circles website, more than 20 percent of Troup County residents live at or below the federal poverty level, which is $23,550 for a family of four, and one in three children lives in poverty.

“We’re about helping people fill their own bowl. (Empty bowls are) a symbol of the struggle many members in our community face,” Brown said. “… Our goal is to help people understand who we are, what we do, and why it’s important.”

Tickets to the event are $10 and include a dinner and the bowl to take home. Tickets are available at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center or by emailing Holly Roberts at hroberts@troupco.org.

If anyone is interested in learning more about Circles, the group meets Thursday nights at Troup County Baptist Association, 1301 Washington St. Free childcare and dinner is provided. Dinner is 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. and the meeting is 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.

Editor’s note: Story updated to correct the quoted percentage of income increase for participants.

Reach the LaGrange Daily News at 706-884-7311.