Empty Bowl event to sell food in ceramic bowls to raise hunger awareness


World hunger is an ongoing issue, but the Empty Bowl event on Dec. 9 is trying to change that by combining community service and the arts to raise money and awareness for hunger in Evanston.

“It brings lots of people together for a good cause,” said Community Service Coordinator Mary Collins. “It is collaborative and student centered, engaging kids in real work that addresses community issues and raising awareness.”

Empty Bowl will take place in Bacon Cafeteria during lunch periods and will simultaneously include food and bowls for sale, a silent auction with donated ceramic art made by professional ceramicists and information about local food pantries and soup kitchens with multiple representatives.

New this year, the professional ceramic pieces will be posted online before the event to draw interest. “We’re hoping this will let people see the kinds of art pieces we will be auctioning,” said senior Julia Coin. “Hopefully this will bring more people in on Empty Bowl day.”

This will also be the second year where ETHS students can pay for their food using their SNAP accounts, which allows for students who forget money to participate as well.

Four local food pantries and soup kitchens have been invited to attend the event and all of the donation collected will be distributed among them based on their involvement. These include Soup at Six, Hillside Food Pantry, A Just Harvest and Interfaith.

According to Collins, around $4000 is raised by Empty Bowl annually, which is enough money to feed thousands of people. “We’ve consistently raised this amount of money each year and it takes a lot of work to get to that level, so if we can do it again I’d be so happy,” said Collins.

Students will also have the choice of buying the food for $5, or the food and a ceramic bowl for $10. “Ceramics teachers and ceramics students make a lot of the bowls in class and then they have a workday to just try and produce 100 bowls,” stated Collins.

Empty Bowl will offer a variety of soups, bread, cookies and drinks. All of the food served will be made by the culinary students of all different levels, and the bread and cookies are annually donated from Great Harvest and Bagel Art, who are huge supporters.

ETHS’s Empty Bowl event was started 15 years ago as a senior studies project and the school has continued it every year after that, with the number of attendees increasing dramatically, so now the expected value is around 400-500 people.

Hours of planning have gone into this event, especially from the four student community service leaders, who had the task of coordinating ceramic donations and inviting the food pantries and soup kitchens. These include junior Judith Roeder and seniors Miara Handler, Julia Coin and Caitlin Westerfield. “We want to raise awareness for ETHS students and hopefully get them more involved in soup kitchens,” said Coin.