Grand River Health’s Empty Bowls fundraiser postponed

Organizers hope to reschedule the event for later this year

Colorado Mountain College ceramics students learn about glaze possibilities from instructor Michelle McCurdy. Left to right are Nicole Gray, McCurdy, Katharine Cone, Carys Walter and Justin Andrews. Due to the COVID-19 virus this years “Empty Bowls” event is being postsponed until a later date.

The Empty Bowls fundraiser scheduled for Wednesday at Grand River Health Ballroom in Rifle is being postponed as part of the precautionary measures in place at Grand River Health due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

In a statement early this week, Grand River Health said this is in response to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, which is often hardest on the elderly. Even though we have no cases of the virus in Garfield County at the time of this statement, this situation is fluid and will be overseen by the Centers for Disease Control. 

Kaaren Peck, director of Volunteer Services at Grand River Health, said they hope to reschedule the event for later this year.

“It’s too early and everything is dependent on the COVID-19 and how it plays out, there are so many unknowns.”

Peck said many of the patrons to the annual fundraiser are older, and many of the confirmed cases of the virus in the United States have affected the elderly.

Organizers Grand River Health and Colorado Mountain College Rifle both affirm that the priority is the health and safety of the communities, including seniors, patients, students and staff. 

“It really has been a great collaboration between CMC Rifle and Grand River Meals on Wheels. At the helm of that is Michelle McCurdy kind of spearheading six years ago,” Peck said.

The event is the main fundraiser for the Grand River Health Meal on Wheels program, which serves seniors from New Castle to Parachute.

“Getting those meals out requires a large crew of volunteers, because there’s six different routes a day, that require a minimum six different volunteers to take a route,” Peck said.

For the first time the program served over 20,000 meals last year.

Peck said the goal is to deliver a hot meal Monday through Friday to 75-90 clients a day.

Local restaurants were set to donate 50 gallons of soup to fill the more than 500 ceramic bowls made by CMC Rifle for the event.  

Peck said Empty Bowls is the only fundraiser Meals on Wheels had scheduled this year.

“Because of our construction we weren’t going to do the Grand River Gallop, which was our other fundraiser,” Peck said. “This year we put all eggs in one basket, so we really do hope that it’s just a postponement and in a month or two we can do it.”

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