March 02, 2010

Bucknell students Ryan Paige, Class of '13, Lisa Bonnikson, Class of '10, and Emma Goode, Class of '13, worked on potter's wheels at the University's Craft Center to create ceramic bowls for the Empty Bowls Project.

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University students will host an Empty Bowls program on Tuesday, March 9, at two times: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 4 to 7:30 p.m. 

A simple meal of soup and bread will be served in Walls Lounge, located on the second floor of the Elaine Langone Center. A minimum donation of $10 purchases a hand-made bowl that participants may keep.

Proceeds from the annual event benefit the Community Harvest Meal in Milton, a weekly collaboration of Bucknell University, Parkhurst Dining Services, St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, and Weis Markets.

Volunteers, including Bucknell students, typically serve a free hot meal to about 160 to 200 people every Monday throughout the year at Community Harvest. 

The Empty Bowls project is sponsored by the Bucknell University Community Service Program, Office of Civic Engagement, and the Craft Center. Bucknell Dining Services and several area restaurants, including the Country Cupboard, the Lewisburg Hotel and the Townside Garden Cafe are donating soup to the program.

Fighting local hunger
The Empty Bowls meal at Bucknell is open to all who would like to enjoy a soup meal while helping to fill the bowls of others in the local community.

"I think for many people it's hard to empathize with going to bed hungry every day," said Poppy Goforth, director of community service at Bucknell. "Most of us don't know what it is like to wander to the cupboard for a snack and find nothing to eat instead of 'nothing good to eat'; to have to choose between groceries and paying the heating or electric bill; or to not have the luxury of eating a healthy balanced diet from all food groups.

"The Community Harvest Meal supplements food for people who have to face those choices on a daily basis," she said. "As a community, we do have the capacity to help end hunger in our own neighborhoods and this is one way to accomplish that."

Art and community service
The bowls used to serve the soup are first handcrafted and glazed by students and local potters. Gretchen Heuges, coordinator of Bucknell's Craft Center, organized a "Bowl-a-thon" last November, when students, faculty, staff and area artists joined together to make 100 ceramic bowls for the project in one day. 

"The Empty Bowls Project is a great way to blend art with community service," she said. "Students really enjoy the process of making the bowls, but more importantly, the project raises the awareness of local hunger and need, something that many do not know exists."

It is estimated that about one in eight Americans does not have access to enough food. "Unemployment and the economic downturn have affected lots of folks in our area," said Janice Butler, director of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning.

"It's hard for those with limited income to make ends meet and sometimes healthy eating is sacrificed. About 2 million rural households experience food insecurity, meaning they don't have dependable access to enough food to sustain a healthy life."

Empty Bowls meals occur in many schools across the nation and have raised millions of dollars to combat hunger. Michigan art teacher John Hartom initiated the idea in 1991 with his high school students.

This is the fifth year that Bucknell has sponsored the Empty Bowls program. For more information, call 570-577-3292.

Contact: Division of Communications



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