For $15 each, diners will select from a large variety of handcrafted bowls before joining a buffet line of bread, salad and soups for an evening of food, entertainment and fellowship. All of the proceeds go to the Second Harvest Food Bank to help feed the hungry in Springfield and Clark County. Last year the event raised $21,889 for Second Harvest, almost $7,000 more than the previous year.
Empty Bowls, a national fundraiser aimed at fighting hunger, was started in 1990 by a Michigan high school art teacher. A class project with the students producing ceramic bowls evolved, and people were invited to purchase them to benefit local food banks.
After meeting the Michigan art teacher/potter who started the Empty Bowls initiative, Kate Duman Runyon, class of 1994, brought the idea to Wittenberg her senior year. Wittenberg Associate Professor of Art Scott Dooley has managed the university's role in hosting the event since his arrival on campus in 2000, and he continues to look forward to the celebration of talents and hard work.
"It focuses our awareness on the fact that art can be used to truly help others in our community," Dooley said.
Kate Stoverock, class of 2009 from Gahanna, Ohio, a double major in the Russian and Central Eurasian Studies and Studio Art with a concentration in ceramics, has taken on the responsibilities of student coordinator this year.
"I had not taken my first ceramics class my freshman year, but I went to Empty Bowls," Stoverock said. "Then I threw bowls and worked at the event my sophomore and junior years. I looked forward to becoming even more involved this year."
Her work on the event started last October when the students began throwing bowls. In the ensuing months, students have been joined by faculty, staff and alumni at throwing sessions.
Elliott Nguyen, class of 2006, returned to campus to throw bowls. Nguyen served as student coordinator for the 2006 Empty Bowls, and that year he and Dooley received a Special Recognition Award on behalf of Wittenberg University at the 2006 Catholic Social Services Annual Meeting and Award Ceremony.
Local potter Peter Entorf has taken an active role again this year and has thrown nearly 200 bowls, which he is donating for the event. More than 700 bowls have been thrown to date and are ready to be glazed and fired.
Stoverock has worked with Anna Plataniotis, events coordinator for Catholic Social Services/Second Harvest Food Bank, in getting the word out, helping with the food and meeting with donors. She is also responsible for scheduling student volunteers to work the event, and for arranging entertainment for the evening.
This year's musical interludes will begin at 5 p.m., and will offer 20-minute sets with a short break between each act. To date, Andrew Goldstein, class of 2009 from Rockville, Md., has signed on to play acoustical guitar and sing, in addition to Just Eve, Wittenberg's women's a cappella group, and IMANI Gospel Choir.
A silent auction has been added this year. Artwork from several local potters, along with $25 gift cards from O'Charley's Restaurant, will be available at a table inside the CDR for diners who wish to participate.
Empty Bowls T-shirts, designed by Eliza Waggoner, Wittenberg class of 2008, will be available for $15.
Assistant Professor of Art Dan McInnis designed the poster, which includes a photo taken by Dooley.
The major event sponsors include Sodexho, The Greek Orthodox Church-Ladies Philoptochos and The Union Club, and the V.I.P. sponsors include Speedway SuperAmerica LLC, Madison Avenue Pharmacy, Springfield Clark CTC Culinary Arts Program, Dr. Dana and Judy King, and Kova of Ohio.
Additional support and supplies have been donated by Ambience, Eagle Beverage, Route 40 Signs, O'Charley's, Texas Road House, Schwebel Baking Company, Howard's Foods-Save-A-Lot, Donatos, Dole, GFS, Economy Linens, and Bob Evans on Leffels Lane.
Soups to be served include Chicken Bowtie and Potato Leek (Sodexho), Chili (Bob Evans Farms), Vegetable Soup (Springfield Clark CTC Culinary Arts Program), Chicken Avgolemono (Linardos Villa and Anna Plataniotis), Broccoli Cheddar (Mics Italian Restaurant) and Mariachi Chicken (Los Mariachis) for a total of 115 gallons of soup.
Volunteers will wash bowls for guests to take home as gentle reminders – reminders that every night someone's bowl is empty.
All food left over from Empty Bowls will be donated to The Rainbow Table I to be served in its soup kitchen the next day.
Free parking is available behind Krieg Hall on Ward Street and Fountain Avenue, as well as in the Benham-Pence Student Center lot. For more information, contact Dooley at (937) 327-6327 or via e-mail.
Written By: Phyllis Eberts
Photo By: Erin Pence
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