Codger Lodge Turners Aid Empty Bowls Food Pantry Program

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Codger Lodge

Charity program event information is amended for each year's event at the bottom of this blog. What is new since the 2014 Empty Bowls Program is the addition of wood bowls turned by West Virginia’s own Codger Lodge Woodworking Club.

The group has an open door policy and meets every “Turning” Tuesday.  Starting around 9-10 am with the typical donuts and coffee, the sometimes 15-20 plus in attendance exchange ideas, show and tell their artisan crafts, and proceed up to the lunch time with various project fun, camaraderie, and helping each other.  After a home cooked lunch, some stay for additional woodworking.  Now don’t let the word “Codger” fool you.  Although their combined ages represent woodworking knowledge that can never be replaced, their energy and work ethic is second to none.  They are always ready, willing and able to parallel Woodcraft’s motto in “Helping You Make Wood Work.”

This group was formed because the needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many, but has grown where all are now helping many more.  Read all about the Codgers, HERE.  The lead and host codger is Bill Sands (far right) who has been featured many times in Woodcraft Magazine, including the April/May Issue #58 with an octagon shaped picnic table with a matching Lazy Susan.  Bill collaborates with magazine Editor-in-Chief  Tim Snyder to get the articles written.

A club member, Henry Aglio is a retired WVUP ceramics teacher and contributor to the Empty Bowls charity in Marietta.  One of his pottery students was Codger member, Mike Sharps.  Bill told us, “Mike told Henry all about the woodworking crew which peaked Henry’s interest to join the Codgers.  Henry being a member of the Unitarian Church suggested that the codgers should turn wooden bowls to supplement the ceramic bowl supply.  Henry submitted his proposal to the project administrators, and that got the lathes turning.  Caroline and Cynthia, administrators to the program, visited the lodge to determine how best to integrate the wooden bowls into the project.”

The Codgers taught Henry how to turn.  Henry's first-ever turning, a Maple bowl combined with his pottery experience in forging a steel base much like a blacksmith would hammer out a design over a hot fire.  What’s great is that Henry and Mike have been both student and teacher for each other.

Codger Lodge

Now the Empty Bowls Charity Program has another option for either a ceramic soup bowl or a wooden cracker bowl to raise money for their food pantry.  Call it fate because things happen for a reason.  This was a perfect blend of hand craftsmanship to give a helping hand to those in need.

Look for this year’s soup bowl charity event information at the bottom of this blog.

As the program perpetually grows, more bowls will be needed every year.  So turn something for charity in your area, and come join the event.

Addendum April 8th, 2014

As stated above, the soup and bowl charity event was held Saturday, April 5th.  The 17th century recorded proverb, “The early bird gets the worm” would be the standard to remember for next year’s function!  I arrived at 11:30, a half hour after the opening, to find that all of the 50 wooden bowls created by Codger Lodge members that were included with the purchase of the soup lunch for $10 had been the first to be picked over.  All that were left were the ceramic choices.  Once paid at the door, I selected a ceramic bowl, and fell into line for the homemade soups and chiles offered.  There were white and red chiles’, Southwestern style soups, potato, tomato, lentil and wedding soups just to name a few!  So many choices, so little time, but you could go back for as much soup, breads, crackers, desserts, and beverages as you wanted.  On-hand were 30+ volunteers that were hosting, serving, cleaning, restocking, and working in the kitchen.

There was no need to use your take-home bowl of choice for the actual luncheon as the church provided all the essentials for the more than 300 people that attended the charity event which raised over $2000 for the areas food pantry program.

Codger Lodge

I caught up with fellow codgers, Bill Sands and Mikey Ellison who entertained a few of the locals with some interesting woodworking stories!

The only way to get a wooden bowl was to partake in the silent auction, in which 8 of the 50 bowls were saved.  You did not have to be present to win your items, however it was advantageous to do so, as we were given a chance to be the highest bidders to help increase the food pantry cause.

I had my eye on a Cherry turned bowl by Mike Sharps (far left bottom photo). Also in the auction was the largest item to bid on, Bill Sands 11-1/2″ diameter Maple bowl (below-right)

Woodworking, beautiful bowl creations, a great lunch, helping friends in need…as Scott Phillips would say…”It doesn’t get any better than that!”  Hopefully we’ll see you and your handcrafted bowl at next year’s event.

Addendum: March 1, 2017

The 2017 Empty Bowls luncheon will be held April 1st, 2017 from 11am-4pm at the First Presbyterian Church located at: 501 Fourth Street Marietta, OH 45750.

Stassa Phillips is the Empty Bowls organizer and can be reached at 740-376-0666.

Wooden turned or carved bowls can be donated at the  First Presbyterian Church on Friday, March 24th between 4pm-6pm, OR at Woodcraft of Parkersburg any time during open store hours until Friday, March 24th at 5pm.

Addendum: April 19, 2017

The codgers’ contributions to the 2017 Empty Bowls charity helped the administrators take in $5200 and distribute the money to local food pantries.


Keep woodworking and turn it up a notch for charity my friends,

auf Wiedersehen…Frank

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