The 2006 Wittenberg Empty Bowls event took place on April 6 in the Joseph C. Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning, and by night’s end all of the more than 600 handcrafted ceramic bowls made by Wittenberg students, faculty and staff members had been sold. Proceeds from the event each year benefit Springfield’s Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves Clark, Logan and Champaign counties. Second Harvest is one of 200 agencies nationwide that provides needy individuals with bulk food donations.
In what has become one of the most popular annual campus events at Wittenberg, Empty Bowls, part of a national project that helps organizations fight hunger, offers all-you-can-eat soups and breads for a $10 donation, with the bowls included in the donation. Volunteers wash the bowls, and patrons take them home as reminders that many people in the community go hungry each day.
Dooley said it was fitting that both he and Nguyen accepted the award together on behalf of everyone who helped with the 2006 event.
“Elliott did a wonderful job coordinating the event and was the driving force behind increasing the number of bowls this year, increasing advertising and setting the record of over $6,000 raised,” Dooley said. “His responsibility, attention to detail and passion for the event was incredible.”
This year’s event included a unique partnership with John Burroughs High School in St. Louis, Mo. Matt Reck of St. Louis, Mo., class of 2007, brought bowls made by students at John Burroughs, including his brother, John, back to campus with him following Spring Break. John and his art teacher, Andrew Denney, organized students to make bowls, which were then contributed to the Wittenberg Empty Bowls event.
Donations were received from Beta Theta Pi and Delta Tau Delta fraternities and Build a Better Wittenberg, and nearly 30 students volunteered to assist during the dinner. Sponsors for this year’s event included Madison Avenue Pharmacy, Perkins Family Restaurant, Littleton & Rue Funeral Home and Fifth Third Bank. Entertainment was provided by IMANI Gospel Choir and Just Eve, Wittenberg’s women’s a cappella group. Clint Davis, class of 2006 from Lebanon, Ohio, and Sam McCabe, class of 2006 from Greenville, Ohio, also performed.
The menu was prepared by Sodexho and included chicken bow-tie soup, potato leek soup, garden vegetable soup, dinner rolls, tossed salad and assorted cookies and beverages. Empty Bowls T-shirts were also sold for $12.
In addition, for the second straight year, 15 of the bowls were purchased and then given as thank-you gifts to local residents who volunteered as county coordinators for the Congressional High School Art Competition. Members of U.S. Rep. Dave Hobson’s Springfield office decided the bowls would make good gifts for the county coordinators while also contributing money to a good cause after attending the 2005 event.
The county coordinators, who received the awards at the district art show in May at the Springfield Museum of Art, hail from all corners of Hobson’s congressional district. They coordinated county shows and the judging process that are part of the annual Congressional High School Art Competition, which has been existence for more than 20 years. One piece of artwork from each participating district hangs in the Cannon Tunnel between two congressional office buildings in Washington, D.C., each year.
One person each year is selected to represent each of the approximately 360 participating congressional districts, but there is no federal money involved. County coordinators donate their time to help a program that promotes arts in high schools. Ironically, the Clark County portion of the program is held each year in Wittenberg’s Koch Hall, the same building where university students prepare most of the bowls for the fund-raiser.
“This was a wonderful year for the Empty Bowls Event,” Dooley said. “In a time when many social service-oriented non-profits are facing lower levels of funding, it is exciting that we were able to increase the amount of our contribution to Second Harvest from previous years.”
- Ryan Maurer
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