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Pottery makers fire up soup fundraiser for Head Start education program

IF YOU GO WHAT: Empty Bowl Head Start Fundraiser WHEN: 6 p.m. Feb. 27 WHERE: Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park’s Pioneer Pavilion, located off Texas 16 three miles south of Fredericksburg COST: $20 gets attendees clay bowl for soup dinner; tickets at door FOR MORE: Call (830) 990-1026


FREDERICKSBURG — Four years ago, a group of pottery makers saw a way to unite two of their passions: clay and education.

So they started the Empty Bowl Head Start Fundraiser that benefits Head Start Inc. It serves children in Johnson City, Blanco, Stonewall, Fredericksburg and Harper.

The Friends of Headstart make clay bowls of different sizes. For $20, attendees pick a bowl and fill it with one of many tasty soups, which are donated by more than 20 restaurants in the Head Start Inc. service area. The event is 6 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Pioneer Pavilion at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park, located three miles south of Fredericksburg off Texas 16. It includes a silent auction and entertainment by Ben Beckendorf and His Awesome Blues Band.

“We have some pretty good partners,” said Head Start Inc. executive director Paul Carlyle, noting restaurants, musicians and volunteers do not have to be prodded to participate.

Last year, the event drew 352 people. Carlyle said organizers are hoping for 400 this year.

Head Start Inc. educates about 230 students ages 3-5 years old; 133 are from low-income families.

“This is the pilot program started by former President Lyndon B. Johnson at his ranch,” Carlyle said. “Through the years, we’ve spread out and incorporated. (The Johnsons) would come by even after his presidency ended. They’d read to the kids and support the agency.”

Head Start Inc. has a broad approach to education, Carlyle said. In addition to usual age-appropriate curriculum, the children are taught proper hygiene and health habits such as the correct way to brush their teeth or are potty trained. They learn social skills and proper nutrition.

The director said this event is the No. 1 fundraiser for Head Start Inc. Since it has volunteers, the money goes back into classrooms and curriculum, he said.

And since Beckendorf is a best friend, Carlyle also will grab his guitar and play with the band.

Tickets can be bought at the door. Call the Head Start Inc. at (830) 990-1026 for more information. The director said he is not worried there won’t be enough to accommodate attendees.

“We’ve never run out of soup,” he said. “We may have one or two soups that are the hot ones for the evening. It’s generally a good variety.”