'Empty Bowls' raises awareness about hunger

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Suffield - posted Wed., Dec. 11, 2013
Diners arrive, empty bowls in hand, to fill up with one of four different soups.  This was the third time Suffield High School has held an ‘Empty Bowls’ event. Student-chefs were on hand to dish out the soup. Photos by Jennifer Coe.
Diners arrive, empty bowls in hand, to fill up with one of four different soups. This was the third time Suffield High School has held an ‘Empty Bowls’ event. Student-chefs were on hand to dish out the soup. Photos by Jennifer Coe.

Despite fog as thick as pea soup, a group of Suffield residents came out on Dec. 5 to support the effort to raise hunger awareness. Organized by Suffield High School teacher Kerry Michaud-Bagley, “Empty Bowls” offered the diners student-made pottery bowls, filled with their choice of four different soups.

“This event is to raise awareness and money toward hunger,” said Michaud-Bagley. This is the third year she has organized this event.

Michaud-Bagley, an art teacher, spends her entire school year collecting pottery bowls made by students throughout Suffield, some elementary and some high school. She also has her own students make bowls just for the event. Available on this particular evening were about 100 different ceramic bowls.

The bowls came in all shapes and sizes. Some were extremely large for the super-size eater, and some were small and dainty for the demure diner.  Some of the ceramic bowls were a little wobbly and lumpy, but each one was unique and still had the finger prints of its youthful creator.

As diners sat around talking with one another in the commons, they shared their reasons for attending. “I am here to fill the empty bowl and then empty the empty bowl,” lightheartedly joked Chris Hodges.  Another person was there because he said he doesn’t enjoy cooking his own dinner and wanted to give back to the community.

But, Bob and Kerry White have a special tie to the program. “We will add this one to a fairly large collection we have,” said Bob. He and his wife Kerry are actually related to the founder of “Empty Bowls,” one John Hartom, a potter and community activist.

The Whites have made it a point to attend as many of the “Bowls” events as they can.

Students from culinary class who had worked hard to make the soups were present to dish out the soups. “It was really fun to do,” said Krystle. “Just knowing we were helping out our community – we learned a lot,” she said.  Soups served included: chicken noodle, cream of broccoli, chili with beef and Zuppa Toscana.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community,” said Michaud-Bagley. “It makes you realize the important of coming together for something like this.”

Funds raised from this event will be divided between the Suffield Emergency Aid Association and Action Against Hunger, an international group which works to end world hunger.


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