Empty Bowls event raises $17,995 for Facing Hunger Foodbank

The Empty Bowls fundraiser that Marshall University hosted this month in conjunction with several Huntington organizations raised a record-breaking $17,995 for the Facing Hunger Foodbank. The amount included $15,520 made from selling bowls created by Marshall ceramics students and other volunteers, along with $2,475 raised in the event’s silent auction.

The amount is the most raised since 2015, when Empty Bowls raised $17,700.

Empty Bowls was hosted April 12 at First Presbyterian Church, a partnership among Marshall’s College of Arts and Media, the Facing Hunger Foodbank, and several other volunteers and organizations, including Christian Associates, which helped organize, restaurants that donated soup, artists who helped create bowls, and others who helped serve at the event, prepare the church and more.

“This year’s event was one in which we saw so much excitement and wonderful support from the community—-and so many people talked about that connection of the art and the provision of food for those in need and how important that was for them,” said Cyndi Kirkhart, executive director of the Facing Hunger Foodbank. “We are so grateful for this partnership with Marshall University, Christian Associates and our community, and this tremendous result.”

Marshall students help create bowls for the event as part of a community involvement course, taught by Frederick Bartolovic, associate professor of ceramics at the university. First-year students make 20 bowls each, representing 2,250 meals, and advanced students make 40 bowls each, providing 4,500 meals with that number of bowls.

“The students in the ceramics area at Marshall University put an extraordinary amount of work into Empty Bowls this year,” Bartolovic said. “This year, there was a wholehearted effort by all students. They embraced the opportunity for their art to benefit the community. Through the process, they discovered things about themselves — their resolve and determination to sit for hours on end at the wheel and in front of the glazing tables to finish their pieces.”

More than a week after the event had finished, he said, people were still contacting him, hoping to purchase bowls.

“It is looking like the 2019 Empty Bowls was possibly the best one yet, with well over 130,000 meals provided to the service area of the Facing Hunger Foodbank,” Bartolovic said. “It is a remarkable achievement for these college students to see how one community can reach out and help another.”