The Huntington Area Food Bank and Marshall University’s College of Fine Arts are among those who will join together to help hungry residents of the Tri-State area with the 9th annual Empty Bowls fundraiser. The event will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, at First Presbyterian Church at 1015 5th Ave.
Empty Bowls is a national initiative, and Huntington’s version offers patrons a handmade ceramic bowl and modest soup lunch for a $12 donation to the Huntington Area Food Bank. Participants pick their one-of-a-kind bowl, made and donated by Marshall ceramics students, and go through a soup line. The lunch is intended to be modest to remind participants that many people in the Tri-State area go hungry.
“All of the soup is donated by local restaurants,” said Jaye Ike, special
projects coordinator for the College of Fine Arts. “Each year, because of their
generosity, we are able to offer delicious soup options at our event. If there
is any soup left over after the event, we donate that soup to an organization
that feeds the hungry locally.”
The $12 patrons spend at Empty Bowls can provide 64 meals from the Huntington Area Food Bank for the hungry in the area. Last year, the food bank distributed more than 3.9 million meals. If this year’s Empty Bowls goal of $20,000 is reached, more than 107,000 meals can be provided.
The planning committee for Empty Bowls includes Diana Van Horn, who represents Christian Associates. Van Horn and Christian Associates are responsible for collecting the lunch donations and organizing volunteers for the event. The team has already received commitments for soup or bread from several Huntington restaurants, including Max & Erma’s, Jim’s Steak and Spaghetti House and River and Rail Bakery.
Sam Kincaid and Lynne Mayer, who represent the B’nai Sholom congregation, are soliciting donations for the silent auction that will take place at Empty Bowls. The auction is a substantial source of income for the event. Last year it resulted in more than $3,000. Auction items for this year’s patrons to bid on include a table at the Huntington Symphony for the Picnic at the Pops concerts, Chad Pennington memorabilia and gift cards to various Huntington establishments.
“We are so grateful for the donations we receive from area businesses,” Ike said. “Empty Bowls would not be the event it has become without the generosity from our community. We can never say thank you enough, but we try. And we’ll gladly accept any items for our silent auction if there are businesses out there who’d like to participate!”
And, according to Ike, none of the details would matter without the space to host the event.
“Each year, First Presbyterian Church kindly donates the space of their church for us to host Empty Bowls,” Ike said. “Skip Seibel, a pastor at First Presbyterian, is such an asset to our committee. Without this large, beautiful space, the event wouldn’t be the same, maybe not even possible.”
The College of Fine Arts is also represented by Frederick Bartolovic, assistant professor of art and design, who teaches ceramics. He joined the Marshall faculty this past fall, so this will be his first experience with Empty Bowls.
“It takes the students nine months to make all the bowls we contribute,” Bartolovic said. “Ultimately production ‘ramps up’ in the spring prior to the event, but shooting for that target of 1,000 bowls takes a long time. Each individual bowl probably takes anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour, but that does not include all the firing time.”
“It can be challenging for art students in particular to develop strong ties to the community where they feel they are actually making a difference,” Bartolovic said, “and Empty Bowls does just that.”
For more information contact Ike by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone
at ext. 6-3296.
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