Empty Bowls Fundraiser Helps Feed the Hungry

Alexandria Smith, Web Master

Staff and community members engaged students with the issues of hunger and homelessness at the Empty Bowls Project held Nov. 22.

The international grassroots effort to fight hunger was created by The Imagine Render Group, according to the official Empty Bowls website.

Potters and artisans in the community used their talents to make handcrafted bowls, and guests were invited to a simple meal of soup and bread in exchange for a cash donation. Each guest was allowed to keep one of the many bowls as “a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world” and all donations benefit organizations working to end hunger and food insecurity.

“Each individual or group organizing designs it around the needs of their own community,” which is exactly what community outreach coordinator Kristen Samuels did.

What used to be a combined effort with King’s University, Wilkes University and Luzerne County Community College has become a much smaller, more intimate and less expensive project.

One of the main reasons for the split was the difficulty it posed to students wanting to attend the event in the past, according to Samuels. Another reason was because of the cost of the bowls.

At Wilkes, each handcrafted bowl was $15 while each bowl, courtesy of ceramics professor Skip Sens- bach, was only $5 at MU.

“We didn’t get a great turnout,” said Samuels of last year’s event. “We got people from the Misericordia community at the event but not our students and that was what, especially Skip and I, think is important for this educational piece. Of course, the community is invited and we want the community to attend, but we think the message is important for our students to hear – that we want to make sure we’re educating our students about [hunger and homelessness].”

The event included several pre- sentations about the prevalence of homelessness and hunger from students in the Social Justice Ministry outreach.

Back Mountain Food Pantry manager Carol Eyet was pleased with student turnout this year.

“It’s really nice when young people get involved because it’s a problem that’s not going to go away. So if they’re aware of it, then as they go out into the business world, they may be able to help alleviate it to some point. So it’s a nice feeling to have young people involved,” Eyet said.

Sensbach and his classes provided the 225 bowls.

“What I liked [about the event] was that is was student oriented, you know, Kristen’s students in social justice taking control of organizing the bowls, and taking the money, and students actually showing up, sitting down, and having soup as opposed to last year. When we were this event, there was no student activity whatsoever – it was all community – which is okay, too, but I think it’s really important that if you’re doing it on a university campus, that the students have ownership for it. They can’t throw the bowls – I can throw the bowls – but if students really take the reins and put on an event that is really what we should be doing,” he said.

Junior government, law, and national security major Connor Brennan felt the event was beneficial to the community.

“I felt that it was very helpful and I thought it was a good, creative way to just get out the message and to have people come. It was very delicious, and I loved

the presentation. The presentation was good, and it felt very heartfelt,” said Brennan.

The 2013 Empty Bowls Event was held from 4 to 6p.m. in Insalaco Hall. All food was donated by Metz Culinary Management. Proceeds benefitted the Back Mountain Food Pantry.

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