Empty Bowls fight hungerFood and art are the focus of a Tuesday event at Northwestern High School. Students, staff and families are teaming up to hold an Empty Bowls supper to support the Rural Care and Share Food Shelf.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Food and art are the focus of a Tuesday event at Northwestern High School.
Students, staff and families are teaming up to hold an Empty Bowls supper to support the Rural Care and Share Food Shelf.
“Everyone’s pitching in, which is pretty cool,” said Charlotte Sauer, a senior.
For a donation of $10, those who attend will get a bowl of soup and an art object to take home. The pieces run the gamut from ceramics and woodwork to fiber art and slumped glass. Students, parents and even teachers have donated one-of-a-kind items for the event.
“You get an awesome piece of handmade artwork and the donation goes to a pretty awesome cause, I think,” said senior Halie Makela, who donated a number of bowls to the event. “Nothing is made in China.”
While food is the focus, the meal will be simple.
“The idea is that they reflect on the fact that there are a lot of people that would be thankful to get one simple bowl of soup and a glass of water,” said art teacher Amy Mack, who is heading the Empty Bowls event. “We want people to walk away and really think ‘I’m glad that I get more choice than this on a daily basis.’ And a lot of people don’t get more choice.”
Too often, she said, people think hunger is something that stalks larger communities like Superior and Duluth. But, Mack said, “it’s here.”
A student presentation takes place during the meal, highlighting food insecurity in the area.
The Rural Care & Share Food Shelf, operated by 13 area churches, has been in existence since 1983. Food is distributed at Peace Lutheran Church in Poplar and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Iron River from 9-11 a.m. the third Saturday of each month. Need has been steady at the food shelf.
Last month, 158 households received food from the pantries, 96 in Poplar and 62 in Iron River. Over the last five months, the two sites have provided nearly 19,000 pounds of food to those in need.
Food drives are appreciated by the food shelf, said board member Ann Pellman, but dollars go even further.
“Every one dollar buys $10 worth of groceries through the food bank,” she said. “So that helps us stretch our bucks.”
When Mack approached the food shelf board about the Empty Bowls event, they were thankful.
“I thought it was a wonderful idea, a great opportunity for our community to see what the school does to support the community and the food shelf,” Pellman said.
Students at Northwestern High School have donated bowls to the annual Empty Bowl events held in Duluth, Mack said, and she felt the student body was strong enough to hold their own. She has held after-school throw-a-thons and put many of her own demonstration pieces on the list for the event. Students in the technical education classes have turned wooden bowls for it.
“Whatever we do at the school will be represented,” Mack said.
It has also encouraged students to create.
“I think it’s a good way to have a nice community event in support of the food shelf,” said sophomore Connor Smith. “It gives me an excuse to make some different bowls.”
When tragic events happen throughout the nation and world, members of the community rally to help them, Mack said. She hopes they will join together to support this local need, as well.
“Here, every day, there are kids coming to school hungry,” she said.
Through Empty Bowls, students can use their talents and skills to help their peers.
“I want students to learn that ‘I can make a difference. I can do this one little thing. Look at the good it does,’” Mack said.
The supper runs 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Northwestern High School in Maple.