Handmade bowls help feed the hungry

Empty bowls mean full stomachs at an upcoming fundraiser put on by art students at East Syracuse-Minoa High School. The group is making handmade, ceramic bowls to be sold at the "Empty Bowls Supper" designed to help the hungry via local food pantries. For a small $1 minimum donation, a simple meal of soup, bread and a beverage will be on offer to the public from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday March 5 in the high school cafeteria.

The biennial fundraiser, which seeks to involve schools throughout the area, is in its seventh year. ES-M participated twice before in 2004 and 2006, and raised a combined total of $8,885.

This year, proceeds from the project will be evenly split between St. Matthew's food pantry in East Syracuse and St. Mary's food pantry in Minoa, and distributed as food purchasing credit through the Food Bank of CNY.

"The pantries in East Syracuse and Minoa serve 17,144 meals per month and 3,956 every week," said Katharine Loomis, development director for the Food Bank of CNY.

Loomis said one of the reasons it's so important to support this event is because of the social awareness it provides young people and their parents.

"It teaches students not only to reach out to help one another and be good citizens," she said. "But it also teaches that there are hungry people right in their community."

Students in clay classes and art club, as well as staff members, have spent most of the school year creating these handmade bowls with teachers Peter Valenti, Teresa Russo and Cindy Zimmer. Their final products, which come in many sizes and designs, serve as a reminder that there are always empty bowls and hungry people in the world.

The Empty Bowls project began in a Michigan high school in 1990, when students were looking for a fundraiser to support a food drive. Since then, the idea has grown and been adopted by organizations throughout the country. The project serves as a way to unite art and community service.

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