Empty Bowls raises hunger awareness and supports Community Harvest

By Olivia Seecof


A simple meal consisting only of soup and bread was served to students in Walls Lounge on Tuesday as part of the Empty Bowls program. The program combats hunger issues in the local community by raising both awareness and money.

This is the sixth year that the University has sponsored the Empty Bowls program, which was initiated in 1990 by Michigan art teacher John Hartom with his high school students. Since then, the Empty Bowls program has become very successful.

Jessica Paquin, Office Coordinator at the Office of Civic Engagement, said that her favorite part of the Empty Bowls event is “seeing the craftsmanship of the bowls because I think they are beautiful.  Also, showcasing the talent of our local vendors and our soup is awesome. It’s all about giving back.”

The $10 donation for a ticket to the lunch purchased a hand-made bowl that the participants could keep.  Proceeds from this annual event benefit the Community Harvest Meal, which is a weekly collaboration of the University, Parkhurst Dining Services, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church and Weis Markets.

“We are raising money for Community Harvest, where we need it so much,” Angel Hernadez ’13 said. “Empty Bowls is an easy way for the Bucknell community to come and support us.”

The University Community Service Program, Office of Civic Engagement and the Craft Center help sponsor the Empty Bowls project. Parkhurst Dining Services as well as several area restaurants such as Hotel Edison and Townside Garden Café donated soup for the program.  Soup flavors included Garden Vegetable, Chipotle Sweet Potato and Beef Noodle.

The bowls that the participants pick out to keep are handcrafted and glazed by students and local potters. The coordinator of the Craft Center, Gretchen Heuges, organized a “Bowl-a-thon” last November. Students, faculty, staff and area artists joined together to make about 100 ceramic bowls for the project.

“I loved looking at all of the different bowls. There were many different sizes, shapes and colors from which to choose,” Nicole Diamantides ’14 said. “I ended up picking a white and brown bowl that I will use to put my jewelry in on my bureau.”

There were also larger, more elaborate bowls on display that were part of a silent auction in effort to raise more money for Community Harvest.

“Many folks do not realize that there are people in our area that do not have food to eat on a daily basis,” said Lynn Pierson, assistant director of community service.

The Empty Bowls program serves as not only a fundraiser but also an event to raise awareness of the important issue of hunger issues both locally and nationally.

“I’ve heard about the program in the past and I wanted to check it out,” Becky Miller ’11 said. “I am aware of hunger issues abroad, but I also think that supporting causes locally and in America is important.”

During the event, a slideshow showcased many facts about local, regional and national hunger issues. An estimates one in eight Americans does not have access to enough food. Empty Bowls events occur in many schools across the nation and have raised millions of dollars to combat hunger.

“This program is cool for me because I just volunteered at Community Harvest on Monday night,” Emily Norton ’11 said. “I’m also impressed by how many people showed up for the event and how many students made the bowls.”

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