Students and community members work together to create handcrafted bowls

Sophomore Anna DiCoco sits in her ceramics class making a bowl for the Empty Bowl event this Sunday.

At the first ever Greene County Empty Bowl event, 80 empty bowls will be filled with soup and served with fresh baked bread to raise awareness about world hunger. The event will be held in the 4-H Building (Building 9) at the county Fairgrounds on Sunday, April 6 from noon to 3 p.m., with lunch beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The Empty Bowls event is a national grassroots movement to end hunger started by John Hartom and the ImagineRender group.

In 2012, 49 million Americans lived in food-insecure households, 33.1 million adults and 15.9 million children, according to

Thousands of people all over the United States and in at least a dozen other countries have been involved with Empty Bowl. Millions of dollars have been raised and donated to hunger-fighting organizations.

The Empty Bowl event was brought to Greene County by Waynesburg University senior and criminal justice major Steven Snow and the university’s Bonner program. Projects surrounding an ongoing social issue in the world are a requirement under the Bonner Program.

“This past fall, with the cooperation and collaboration of the Bonner Leadership team, we decided to transition class projects into issue-based projects,” said Snow. “Instead of each class doing separate projects, now students from all classes can work together on an issue that they are passionate about.”

According to Snow, the Bonner Scholars began forming a committee in the fall of roughly 15-20 Bonner students. From there, they partnered with the Community Foundation of Greene County to raise proceeds for the Weekend Food Program.The Bonner Scholars thought it would be a great way to adopt the Empty Bowls event and bring it to life here in Greene County, while partnering with an organization that addresses food insecurity.

“So my committee and I have been working diligently to plan this event as well as the other Bonners who have already carried out their projects this past semester,” said Snow. “I took on the role to lead this project because I had to pick one to "lead," not necessarily because I was passionate about hunger, but after such a great deal of planning and organizing, I have become to understand more about hunger and am greatly passionate about this event.”

According to the Empty Bowl website, “Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger and was created by The ImagineRender Group.”

Potters, craftspeople, educators and others who are interested in working with the community to create handcrafted bowls and those who attend should expect to receive soup and bread served in one of the handcrafted bowls.

For the Greene County Empty Bowl, Standard Ceramics in Carnegie donated 500 lbs. of clay towards the event in which the Bonner committee as well as other Waynesburg University students had the opportunity to make bowls one night in late January in the ceramics room. In addition, Artbeat Gallery, located on High Street in Waynesburg, has partnered to work with the committee and will also be donating bowls.

The target number and overall goal for the event is 130-150 people. Between the Bonners, ceramics students and other Waynesburg University students, roughly 80 bowls have been made and Artbeat will be donating around 40.

“Knowing that these bowls will be used to raise money for students suffering from hunger really makes me want to create the absolute best product,” said sophomore marine biology major Anna DiCoco, who is enrolled in a ceramics class this semester. “Hopefully the bowls that will be taken home will remind people to support those who struggle to afford food.”

The beef tortellini, chicken and rice, stuffed pepper and cheddar potato soups that will be provided at the event will be donated from Dan Wagner, Culinary Arts Instructor at Greene County Career and Technology Center, and the bread will be provided by Rising Creek Bakery and Hartley Inn Restaurant.

Guests will also have the opportunity to bid on local artisans’ beautifully hand-crafted items during a silent auction.

Guests are expected to keep the handcrafted bowl “as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world” and are encouraged to give a cash donation for an organization working to end hunger and food insecurity.

In the case of the Greene County Empty Bowl event, all direct proceeds from the event will support and sustain the local school districts' Weekend Food Program which provides 6 packs of perishable food items for young children on the weekends. The Weekend Food Program is run by the Community Foundation of Greene County and the Greene County Food Security Partnership.

“My hope is that Empty Bowls Greene will have an impact in our local community to help fight hunger and food insecurity,” said Snow. “We want our young children to grow up and be leaders. We want them to thrive and develop with great potential, but we cannot allow them to worry about when their next meal is. Through Empty Bowls Greene County, we [the Bonner's] can educate our local community to help alleviate hunger and sustain the Weekend Food Program, giving our young children a continued fresh start on Monday mornings.”

Tickets are $20 per person; however, children 12 and under eat free but do not receive a bowl to take with them.

Tickets can be purchased at Artbeat or the Community Foundation of Greene County, both located on High Street.

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