Art students donate bowls to fight hunger

UW-Eau Claire ceramic students are joining in on the fight against hunger.

Art and design students are donating 200 bowls to the 7th annual Empty Bowls fund-raiser, held by Feed My People Food Bank.

Empty Bowls is an annual benefit dinner consisting of soup served in handmade bowls, specialty breads, and desserts, said Emily Moore, executive director of Feed My People Food Bank.

Proceeds from the dinner go towards purchasing perishable and nonperishable food and distributing it to 14 counties in West-Central Wisconsin, Moore said.

“We distribute over one million pounds of food each year,” she said.

A local, nonprofit organization, the food bank has a board of directors which forms committees that work with volunteers to organize the event.

“It’s basically a volunteer-run event,” Moore said.

More than 100 area businesses are sponsoring the event, including local artists and high-school students who are donating bowls as well.

Empty Bowls has been very successful in past years, Moore said, adding that the event raised more $20,000 last year and she estimates it will be close to $30,000 this year.

“In early years we made only a few thousand, but the committees have been improving the event and those efforts and have made it much more financially successful,” Moore said. “I think the community being more aware and building a reputation helps too.”

Susan O’Brien, assistant art professor, said she was happy to see that Empty Bowls was already up and rolling by the time she came to Eau Claire.

“It’s a win-win situation for the students, they become involved in their community and become proficient at making bowls,” O’Brien said. “I don’t think the community understands how much work goes into making these bowls, but it’s a lot of work.”

Senior Lauren Faust, a student coordinator, agreed.

“It’s a lot of work for us and for everyone,” Faust said. “It’s one thing to make the bowls, but then to fire and glaze them is a pretty lengthy process.”

Empty Bowls will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Today at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1314 East Lexington, Eau Claire. Tickets are $15 for dinner and a handmade bowl, $8 for dinner alone, and $40 for two bowls and dinner for up to five people. Children 10 and under are free. Advance ticket purchase is recommended. Tickets are available at Trinity Lutheran, the Service Center in Davies Center and Feed My People Food Bank.