This past weekend, my schedule allowed for me to spend time giving back to the Huntingdon community. Every year Juniata hosts an Empty Bowls event, which is a fundraiser for local foodbanks including The Salvation Army, Huntingdon Food Pantry, Mt. Union Food Pantry, and the Southern Huntingdon foodbank. There are also going to be donations to the backpack programs for two elementary schools in Huntingdon.
Artists hungry for advocacy began this event to help feed our world and their local communities. At Juniata, our ceramics club, the Mud Junkies, members attending the national ceramics conference, Empty Bowls Practicum students, and ceramic studio professors dedicate their time to create beautiful bowls by hand. These bowls serve soup donated by local restaurants, including some of my favorites like Boxer’s, Top’s Diner, and Standing Stone Coffee Company. The event emphasizes the importance of art, while raising hunger awareness. Participants can take their bowls home afterwards, which serve as a symbolic reminder of how some people have nothing to put in it.
In high school, I volunteered at Empty Bowls and was excited to do it again in college. Before the event began, we had to prepare our dining hall for the process of choosing a bowl and a soup. We began moving tables, displaying bowls, hanging posters and signs, and arranging soup stations. This year there were almost 20 different types of soup. They ranged from beef and barley, to pumpkin, tomato basil, and garlic artichoke. Local restaurants also donated fresh bread to be served with the meal.
In addition to the abundant soup options, there were also TONS of bowl options (approximately 500). They were all so beautiful and each had their own personality. There were creative shapes, sizes, glazes, and colors. Some members of the Mud Junkies club were there to help answer questions about the bowls and their creation. It takes participants awhile to choose a bowl because each one is so unique.
Every year students, community members, faculty, and staff look forward to carefully choosing their carefully crafted bowl. I am glad I could join the student volunteers this year. Seeing our community come together to raise awareness is a good feeling.
Want to be part of this feeling too? You can donate here to provide meals in Central PA. Just $1 provides 6 meals. You could help fill someone’s empty bowl.
-Stephanie Letourneau ’20 , Environmental Science POE, Dimpled, outdoor loving, MD girl, pursuing passions