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Empty Bowls To End Hunger

On March 18, The Center for Excellence Learning through Service (CELTS) and the Ceramic Apprenticeship Program hosted the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser to end local hunger.

Beautiful handcrafted bowls await guests at the Empty Bowls event.

Empty Bowls is a national program that began in 1990, but art professor Walter Hyleck added a Berea twist when he suggested that student-made ceramics be used as a way to raise awareness about the area families that do not have enough to eat. Established at BC 10 years ago, the program has flourished, raising approximately $2,500 each year through ticket sales alone for Berea, Paintlick and Crab Orchard food banks. Local and student potters give nearly 300 handmade ceramic bowls each year to guests, which they keep as reminders of all the empty bowls in the world. Empty Bowls also receives support from local businesses through monetary gifts, and students donate their time to prepare the soups attendees get with their bowls.

Students Patrick McGrady and Debra Bulluck coordinated this year's Empty Bowls event with the help of students from the Ceramic Apprenticeship. CELTS staff Shelia Lyons and Ashley Cochrane supervised and supported the students' work. Cochrane attributes most of the program's success to Hyleck’s vision and hard work of the student planning committee.

“It’s a great event! I wanted to support the local food banks and their intricate work within the community,” said BC student Clint Pinion.

“This is the first year I’ve gone to the event. It’s a nice because I get to donate and I keep a piece of Berea,” said Caitlin Szalay, a senior.

In addition to raising hunger awareness, similar organizations were also present to inform attendees of issues around the nation. The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project's focus lies on the reconstruction of New Orleans. Its mission is to implement 100,000 new government funded jobs for those displaced by hurricane Katrina by gathering petitions. Another organization promoted the United States Farm Bill to eliminate agricultural subsidies so that small farms can compete against larger corporate farms.

"Small or family owned farms are disappearing, and we’re trying to convince people to write to their government representatives to support the bill and help in creating programs that use small farms for food programs," said junior Josh Sparks.

In the coming years, the Empty Bowls fundraiser will continue to benefit Bereans by informing citizens of the important issues exist within their communities and beyond.

For more information on Empty Bowls, visit www.emptybowls.net.

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