Former homeless student donates bowls to annual luncheon

David Cornes, a former resident at the homeless shelter, is donating more than 30 handmade bowls to the Grand Valley Catholic Outreach’s annual Empty Bowls Luncheon.

At 34 years old, David Cornes one day found himself without a job or a home, plus no idea as to what to do next with his life.

He had been working as a driver for a mining company in Gypsum, before he lost his job and things began taking a turn for the worse. He moved into the Grand Junction Rescue Mission, relying on a daily meal at the Grand Junction Catholic Outreach Soup Kitchen.

Within a few days of staying at the shelter, Cornes was brought on staff at the shelter and was enrolled in the vocational rehab program. He was in charge of organizing the sleeping quarters each evening. He also enrolled as a student at Mesa State College and began working toward a degree in fine art.

“The mission gave me a place to be when I really didn’t have any other option,” Cornes said, while explaining that he spent most nights for the next six months in the shelter poring over his new textbooks in hopes of a better life.

Cornes, now 37 and a junior at MSC, has an apartment on Orchard Mesa but he still eats at the soup kitchen from time to time. “As a student, there still isn’t that much money coming in and I enjoy it there,” he said.

As a way to pay back the organization that has fed him so many times, Cornes has donated more than 40 handmade bowls that he created as part of his fine art studies to the annual Empty Bowls Luncheon, taking place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the soup kitchen, 245 S. First St.

“I just feel lucky to be able to go to school and change my career,” he said. “Pottery is something I’ve always enjoyed and something I have to give right now.”

Cornes said it was not uncommon to see students staying in the shelter. He said places like the soup kitchen really help many students make ends meet.

He thinks the annual luncheon is a win-win situation for everyone. “It’s a great way to bring in a little money for the people there, but also a way for artists to have their work seen,” he said.

This is the 15th year that churches across the Grand Valley have come together to help fund the soup kitchen.

Last year, the kitchen served 76,510 meals to individuals in need. That need is increasing by 5 percent annually, according to Catholic Outreach. An average of 250 to 300 meals are served at noon daily.

Tickets to the annual luncheon are $25 and include a handmade pottery bowl filled with soup and dessert. There will be live music and other entertainment. For information, call 241-3658.


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