Beggar’s Bowl benefit meal marks 10th year Oct. 13 in WORCESTER

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bowl_tg_2015One of the hand-crafted bowls to be included in the 10th annual Beggar’s Bowl benefit meal Oct. 13 at First Baptist Church in Worcester. Submitted Photo

By Amanda Roberge Correspondent

Posted Oct. 2, 2015 at 6:00 AM

WORCESTER – There seems to be no more of a delicious win-win fundraiser than the annual Beggar’s Bowl, now in its 10th year.

A community of organizations, as members of the Worcester Interfaith Network, gets to pour their souls into their cooking as they lovingly prepare large batches of their favorite soups, chowders and stews.

Attendees get a bottomless bowl of soup and can sample the offerings all night long as they visit with friends and neighbors. As an added bonus, they get to keep the bowl – handcrafted by the group’s Lead Organizer Frank Kartheiser and potter Rich Gemme – as a souvenir of the evening.

And the Worcester community benefits all year long from money that is raised during this single evening of camaraderie, which takes place at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at First Baptist Church, 111 Park Ave.

This year, the network has added an effort or two to the cause, while continuing to work towards eradicating violence in the city and creating employment opportunities for Worcester’s youth.

“Every couple of years, we conduct listening sessions where we have conversations about the things people are concerned about in the community,” Mr. Katheiser said. “And that is where we focus our efforts.”

An issue that presented itself throughout the network this year was that of helping refugees to have more successful lives in Greater Worcester.

“Worcester is the largest refugee resettlement community in the entire state,” he said. “We want to be more familiar with what is happening with these families and how we can help them. And not just to help them settle, but to really become a part of the community.”

The Worcester Interfaith Network plans to work closely with Ascentria Care Alliance, formerly the Lutheran Social Services of New England, as it looks to coordinate resources for the refugee population.

The Worcester Interfaith Network comprises more than 20 congregations and neighborhood organizations in the city along with the Chaplain’s Office at Holy Cross, representing a wide spectrum of religious backgrounds and beliefs.

This year, as in the past, the group is largely dedicated to finding new strategies to keep kids off the street after school, having learned that the hours between 3 and 6 p.m. are the ones where teens are most likely to engage in criminal activity.

“In many of our neighborhoods, the school is the best public building in the area,” he said. “We are looking at ways to keep schools open even after the school day has ended.”

As a third major area of need as identified by the network, working to find solid entry-level jobs for the city’s youth.

But while the issues at hand are serious, complex and difficult to swallow, the Beggar’s Bowl seeks to be just the opposite – simple, joyful and deeply nourishing.

And if you think Mr. Kartheiser is promoting one soup over any other, think again.

“I can’t pick favorites,” he said with a laugh. “I have to be diplomatic!”

The Beggar’s Bowl offers unlimited soup and bread, along with the gratitude of Worcester Interfaith leaders and members, for a $50 donation per person.

For more information, call (508) 754-5001 or visit

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