By David Tesitor
WALSENBURG- The basic idea for Empty Bowls is simple. Participants create ceramic bowls, and then serve a simple meal of soup and bread. Guests choose a bowl to use that day and to keep as a reminder that there are always empty bowls in the world. In exchange for a meal and the bowl, the guest gives a suggested minimum donation of ten dollars.
Last Wed. Dec. 3, there was a nip of frost in the air and snow on the ground from the previous night. Members of the John Mall High School National Honor Society and Panther Community Service (formerly known as EPYCS) hosted an Empty Bowls Night to raise money for local charities who strive to fight hunger within our own community. It was an appropriate evening for a hot bowl of soup and for remembering the many homeless and hungry faces without a place to get a hot meal. According to Linn Baker, art teacher at John Mall, who helped the students organize the event, "The kids are doing it all. It is up to them where they will donate the money raised tonight." Sandra Vigil sponsors the Panther Community Service group and was on hand. She commented if it weren′t for the support of the school, parents and local businesses, the event would not have happened. The Rambler Restaurant donated the soup, George′s Drive-Inn donated the green chili and Kathy Douglas donated the materials for the bread, which Lena Aguirre turned into delicious rolls.
The Empty Bowls Project started back east several years ago to fight hunger and has found its way westward. This was the sixth event sponsored by John Mall High School, and every year, the numbers have grown. In all, over 80 bowls were sold and dinners served. The meal that was served is also a reminder that for many homeless and hungry men, women and children, the caloric intake of a simple meal of soup and bread may be greater than they receive in an entire day.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, of the 293.65 million people in the United States, 12.4 % live in poverty and 3.6% go to sleep at night hungry. That′s over 10 million people. We may not be aware people go hungry here. We usually think of the commercials about starving children in Africa and Asia. The Empty Bowl organizers were prompted to create these events to bring awareness that hunger exists and it is everywhere.
The John Mall Empty Bowls night has become an annual event. The students and parents began making their bowls in October in preparation for the evening. There were bowls of all colors, sizes and unique shapes to choose from. According to Baker, "If anyone would like to purchase a bowl, there are still plenty. Simply call or come to the high school to pick out your unique treasure." All the proceeds will be donated locally. In light of the economic crisis, many charities are facing cutbacks in donations. These bowls make excellent holiday gifts and the money spent may feed someone who is in need.
So remember, place an empty bowl on your holiday table as a reminder: there are people who are hungry.