Empty Bowls, a fundraiser for local food pantries hosted by Beckley Quota Club, is happening this Saturday. BAF, a longtime supporter of this event and organization, provided them $3,734 to purchase pottery wheels, clay, and glazes that are used to make the bowls throughout the year at various locations around southern WV.
Empty Bowls began in 1990 as an international project to fight hunger, personalized by artists, art students, community organizations and generally anyone who wants to get their hands in clay, to be a part of the solution in addressing hunger in their neighborhoods.
Each community's events are self-developed and independent. The "Empty Bowls" framework encourages and inspires participants of all ages to create and donate their piece of art to raise money towards food sustainability programs in the region. The money is raised by having an event consisting of a simple meal of soup and bread, which is provided by generous restaurants and organizations in the area, with an empty bowl to be selected and taken home as a reminder of those who may not have enough to eat. Tickets are pre-sold, while items for a silent auction and donations are secured for the event. All of the money raised is awarded to local food banks and soup kitchens in the community.
Quota Club of Beckley, in conjunction with the Youth Museum of Southern WV, began this initiative locally in 2013, with the first event being held in March 2014. They far exceeded projections creating over 700 bowls and raising $12,000, which earned international recognition as one of the five projects selected by Quota International for their Service Project of the Year Awards.
The next year's event surpassed the previous with 1000 bowls being made and $15,000 being raised and distributed. This earned the Quota Club of Beckley the international service award again that year, an honor they never expected 2 years in a row.
2016 yet again surpassed the previous year, raising $17,500 that was distributed to 11 organizations throughout the region. While 2017's event did not continue on this upward trend, it was still a wonderful success, raising $15,000, for a total of $59,500 being raised since its inception.
We hope you will come out and support this awesome event and make 2018 the best year yet!
Evelyn Ann Farris was a life-long resident of Beckley, WV who felt strongly about supporting your local community, merchants and church. Miss Farris directed that a portion of her estate be left to a nonprofit organization. Her family has chosen to honor her wishes and her memory by establishing The Evelyn A. Farris Fund at the Beckley Area Foundation. The endowment was created as an unrestricted fund to be used to support BAF’s Annual Community Grant Program for Raleigh County.
The daughter of Gus and Jamile Salem Farris, Evelyn was one of 10 children. Gus came to America in 1907 at the age of 17 and worked for merchants in Charleston, WV before starting his own business in Beckley. The Gus Farris Department Store was a family owned clothing store that served the Beckley community for 80 years. Miss Farris spent her career as an owner and operator of the store along with three of her siblings until it closed in 1991.
Miss Farris did not have children of her own but she was very devoted to her family and cared for her parents and several siblings in ill health. Her extended family was very important to her and she taught her nieces and nephews that “your health is your wealth”. She was a member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.
During her lifetime, Evelyn established two unrestricted funds in memory of her siblings, The Elmer J. Farris Memorial Fund and The Isabel M. Farris Memorial Fund. These funds were also set up to benefit BAF’s Annual Community Grant Program. Her nephew, Mike Farris stated, “Aunt Evelyn would be pleased to know that the BAF fund will help those in her community live a better quality life by practicing wise use of funds.”
Anyone interested in making a donation to this fund may mail contributions to BAF, 129 Main St. Suite 301, Beckley, WV 25801 or visit our website, www.bafwv.org, to donate online. If you are interested in starting an unrestricted fund, call the Foundation at 304-253-3806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evelyn Ann Farris (January 15, 1923 – May 3, 2017), was the ninth of ten children born to the late Gus and Jamile Salem Farris. She was born in Beckley, West Virginia and lived her entire life in the family home on East Main Street. When Evelyn’s health began to fail in 2013, she moved to The Villages at Greystone in Beaver, West Virginia. Miss Farris was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School and Beckley College. She spent her career working in the family business, Gus Farris Department Store, where she worked until the store’s closing in 1991.
An avid cook and hostess, Miss Farris was known for her entertaining skills. She hosted many dinners and gatherings for family and friends where her native Lebanese dishes always found a welcome audience. She was a seasoned traveler having made her way around the globe. Evelyn was a member of the Laurel Business and Professional Women’s Club, Catholic Daughters of America, and a life-long member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.
Evelyn never married but her host of nieces and nephews were her “children.” Evelyn had a special gift of selflessly caring for the sick and elderly, displaying patience beyond imaginable. Evelyn traveled to New Hampshire twice to help her younger sister care for her two sons who tragically died at very young ages. Then she returned to Beckley to care for her mother Jamile for a number of years until her death in 1961. Following her mother’s death, Evelyn’s father Gus became bedridden and she cared for him until his death in 1967. Following his death, Evelyn returned to the retail business where she worked until the store closed.
Several years after retiring her older sister Isabel was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Evelyn loving cared for her for a number of years until her death in March 2006. During Isabel’s illness, Evelyn’s brother Elmer also became ill and bedridden. Evelyn cared for him along with Isabel until his death in November 2006. Evelyn’s hospitality skills were evident in each of these circumstances – meals were nutritious and tastefully presented on serving trays. And for her father, there was always a fresh flower in a vase.
In addition to her parents, Evelyn was preceded in death by her siblings Alice Farris Lynch, Felix Farris, Joseph Farris, Isabel Farris, Elmer Farris, Helen Farris Hayes, Dr. James T. Farris, and Dr. Frederick P. Farris. She is survived by one sister Florence Farris Boisse of Manchester, New Hampshire.
“To make the best better” is the motto of 4-H. Larry and Larna Cavendish lived by this motto and taught it to their children, Bonnie, Stan and Michael. To honor the memory of Larry and Larna, their children have established the Cavendish Family Fund at the Beckley Area Foundation. It is a designated fund in which distributions will be rotated on an annual basis between providing camperships at West Virginia University Extension 4-H summer camp or 4-H International camp and providing support for Theatre West Virginia’s capital needs.
Larry was the first Director of the State FFA-FHA Camp, Cedar Lakes, from 1951 – 1964. He also worked in the Extension Service as a county agent and program specialist for 10 years and was the Director of the State 4-H Camp at Jackson’s Mill for 8 years. After his retirement, he continued to volunteer with many organizations. While Larry was serving in these positions, Larna was right by his side as a volunteer for 4-H and other community programs. She loved volunteering in her community and caring for her family and friends. The “Bread Woman of Beckley” she provided homemade bread for any and all that she could.
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The Board of Directors of the Beckley Area Foundation has approved $233,236 to fund 58 projects between April 2018 and March 2019.
BAF makes annual discretionary grants to charitable organizations serving Raleigh County in education ($45,373), health and human services ($105,975), the arts ($36,709), economic development ($21,500), public recreation ($18,315) and civic beautification ($5,364). Using the pooled income from its discretionary funds, BAF addresses the community’s most pressing needs and promising opportunities. A distribution committee reviews all proposals and makes recommendations to the Board of Directors, who make the final decisions on all grants.
The 2018 BAF Distributions Committee, under the leadership of Chair Lee Milam and Vice Chair Kym Cox, consisted of 28 volunteers representing a diverse group with regard to age, occupations, concerns and residency within the county.
The 2018 grant awards, recommended by the committee and approved by the BAF Board of Directors, are as follows (*= Challenge grant):
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