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Three food-related events on Saturday show the community’s focus on food and food insecurity.

Spend the day noshing at an Empty Bowls Luncheon, the O’Hara Commons Fall Festival and the Hamilton International Food Festival on Oct. 13.

The Empty Bowls Luncheon at the St. Francis Parish Center, 411 S. 5th St., will have two seating times, 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Patrons will select a handmade bowl, enjoy hot fresh locally made soup and bread and purchase raffle tickets.

Luncheon tickets cost $25 and are available at Chapter One Book Store, Art City and Art Focus.

Event co-organizer Robin Ireland said, “Art feeds the body and the soul and we hope to do just that on Saturday.”

“We are ready to go with over 350 hand-crafted bowls in many shapes, sizes and colors made by potters from all over the Bitterroot Valley,” she said. “There will also be some beautiful items for the raffle drawings including some hand-painted china bowls and some adorable clay people to purchase.”

She said delicious soups are being prepared in 14 local restaurants (Bouilla, Taste of Paris, Bitterroot Brewery, Trapper Peak Job Corps, Stock Farm, Coffee Cup, Cherry Street Cafe, BJ's, The Edge, Mission Bistro, Catered Table, O’Hara House, Spice of Life and River Rising) and the bread/buns will be fresh and tasty (Red Rooster).

“We at Clay Works! are super excited to host this event because it gives us a chance to meet with the community, promoting art and art education and to put our artistic and creative talents to use for a good cause,” Ireland said.

Event co-organizer Kim Milstead agreed.

She has been checking off the “to do” list.

As of Monday, crews are in place to pick up all the soups and breads Saturday morning, Knights of Columbus are set to serve, drawing items are gathered and ready, two more potters have donated another 60 bowls and beneficiaries will have information tables set up.

Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit four community groups intent on reducing hunger and food insecurity in the Bitterroot Valley: Community Meals, Salvation Army food vouchers, Meals on Wheels and Kids Weekend Backpacks.

“The Clay Works! Crew is so excited in anticipation of Saturday’s Empty Bowls event,” Milstead said. “Our community has volunteered and donated very generously to help us feed and educate our neighbors. What a privilege to serve with these fine people. We invite everyone to come join us for lunch and help us make Empty Bowls a success again this year.”

The O’Hara Commons’ Harvest Open House, pie sale and membership drive with fresh cider and family fun begins at 1 p.m., on Saturday, at 111 S. 4th St.

On Wednesday, Executive Director Samantha O'Byrne was making soup for the Empty Bowls Luncheon and sourdough Kamut crackers for the Hamilton International Food Festival and her harvest open house.

“To me this is an incredible commentary on how food brings community together,” O’Byrne said. “We are all connected and I think it is really exciting.”

In preparation for their fourth annual fall harvest party and membership drive, The O’Hara Commons has been building their tool library, with gardening equipment for members to check out including a 10-foot orchard ladder.

“One of the donations to our tool library was a high-end grain mill,” O’Byrne said. “Kamut International, donated grain. Kamut is the ancient grain from Mesopotamia that we grow in Montana and we will do an on-grounds demonstration of a grain mill and taste test of a sourdough Kamut cracker.”

The Kamut will make an appearance at all three food events as O’Byrne is adding it to her soup for the Empty Bowls Luncheon made from locally grown tomatoes and carrots.

The O’Hara event also has a pie sale. For more information visit

Hamilton International Food Festival is the final food event on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Bedford Building. It is a fundraiser for Hamilton High School students going to Costa Rica next June for an international project of building a home for a family.

The limited number of tickets cost $25 in advance (available at Chapter One Book Store and Bitterroot Performing Arts Box Office) or $35 at the door and include food, beer and wine. Sponsor tables are available for $500 for eight seats, food, beer, wine and a special dessert.

Organizer Roch Turner said there will be tapas representing at least 10 different nationalities. Countries range from Portugal, India, Australia, Italy, Sweden, the American South, the United Kingdom and UK and all over the world.

“All the food will be cooked by people originally from those countries represented,” he said. “We’ll be discussing fun facts about the nations represented and the experience the students will have overseas.”

The festival will have a variety of silent auction items and one large raffle package, raffle tickets available at the event.

Turner said attending the food festival is a “great way to be a part of something larger than the community.”

“It helps students from our community go to a part of the world in need and help someone that needs help,” he said. “It is good for students to experience multi-cultural settings and how people live in different parts of the world. Plus, they are involved in the fundraising so are learning to pay their own way, it is a student-driven experience.”

The four main sponsors for the food festival are Bitter Root Brewing, The Wine Cave, Big Creek Coffee Roasters and Mineshaft Pasty Company.

“Plus, all the chefs are donating their time and food,” Turner said.

Fundraising for the Costa Rica trip are ongoing. Watch for a sale of coffee bean beans from Costa Rica roasted at Big Creek Coffee Roasters.

To further tie the three food-related events people can bring their bowls (from the Empty Bowls Luncheon) to the Hamilton International Food Festival to be entered into a drawing for a family membership to O’Hara Commons.