People helping others in Floyd County Virginia

Floyd County may be one of the economically poorer counties in the US, but it has a community spirit that makes life here much richer and more satisfying than in many places I have lived.

Last Sunday, about 450 people packed the Jacksonville Center in Floyd to participate in the Empty Bowls Event, a benefit for the Backpack Project which sends food home with Floyd County students who do not have enough to eat. This event raised $6212 for New River Community Action which sponsors the Backpack project.

The annual Empty Bowls soup lunch offers an exceptional opportunity to benefit the less fortunate and socialize at the same time. To participate, you pay $10 for a bowl of homemade soup in a handcrafted bowl from a local potter and you get to keep the bowl and take it home.

The handcrafted bowls were donated by local potters and the soups were favorite family recipes donated by local volunteers.

The bowls were beautiful and there were at least twenty different delicious soups to select from. In addition, there were bowls of freshly made breads on every table which were constantly being refilled.

Local musician/composers Martin Scudder and Bernie Coveney provided musical entertainment during the two hour long event.

I did not get an exact count, but it appeared that there were more than 30 volunteers involved in organizing and putting on this splendid event.

It was hard making a choice of soups because they were all delicious, but I finally settled on a Brunswick stew which was one of the best I have ever had. Many thanks to whoever was responsible for making it.

I was delighted to hear that they will be producing a soup cookbook of Empty Bowls Recipes for next year. They can sign me up for a copy anytime.


Floyd is a place like few others. Read my early impressions as a new settler, to get a taste of what a closely-connected rural community can offer.

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