Empty Bowls raises hunger awareness for the third year

Courtney Gilder

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Jamie Gardner, art and math senior, and Dijon Brown, math freshman, try soup and a chocolate covered strawberry at the Empty Bowls event at the WIchita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Tuesday afternoon. Brown helped with glazeing the bowls and Gardner helped sculpt some of hte bowls. Gardner said, "I made like 10 bowls but I couldn't find any." Photo by Lauren Roberts

Jamie Gardner, art and math senior, and Dijon Brown, math freshman, try soup and a chocolate covered strawberry at the Empty Bowls event at the WIchita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Tuesday afternoon. Brown helped with glazeing the bowls and Gardner helped sculpt some of hte bowls. Gardner said, “I made like 10 bowls but I couldn’t find any.” Photo by Lauren Roberts

The reception for Empty Bowls, a charity event that benefits the Wichita Falls Food Bank, was held Oct. 21 in the Wichita Falls Museum of Art. Attendees at the packed event bought handmade ceramic bowls crafted in the university’s ceramics shop. The $40 for the bowl also included all-you-can-eat access to soup from 17 vendors.

“This is truly a community involved awareness event,” Paula Perkins, president of the board of the Wichita Falls Food Bank, said. “Everyone has their niche. From the restaurants who donate food, to volunteers who give their time to make this run, to the media from covering it and the artists who create the bowls.”

Empty Bowls started as a grassroots campaign in Minnesota to raise awareness for the people living hungry everyday. For the past three years, the Wichita Falls community has teamed together to raise awareness about the people living without food. The food bank, alongside artists from MWSU and the surrounding area as well as restaurants, worked to put on Empty Bowls.

Empty Bowls has produced half a million meals in the past two years. Mark McKethan, chief executive officer for the Wichita Falls Food Bank, expects that they will bring in another quarter of a million meals.

Each year students volunteer their time to make ceramic bowls for Empty Bowls, or their time to help the event run smoothly.

Wesley Bynum, marketing junior, said, “I am a Delta Sigma Pi pledge and we heard about the opportunity to volunteer through that.”

Pamela Moller, painting and ceramics alumni, works in conjunction with the associate professor Steve Hilton to provide work for the gallery and bowls for the event. Moller is one of the artists who gets involved in the Empty Bowls steering committee to make sure the event runs smoothly.

Attendees choose their bowl at the Empty Bowls event at the WIchita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Lauren Roberts

Attendees choose their bowl at the Empty Bowls event at the WIchita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Lauren Roberts

“Each county does it differently, but I wanted a way for the artist to be able to get compensation for their good work,” Moller said. “The artists give three of their best bowls to be sold at half price to enter into the contest with a $6,000 pot to be split among the first three prizes.”

Attendees were greeted at the door by volunteers. Upon entering, they could go straight into the area with the bowls created by local artists or to four other places in the Wichita Falls Museum of Art. Two of the four places had the food from local restaurants such as Market Street, Jason’s Deli, Parkway Grill and 14 others. The Gathering was the largest of the four sections where they had soups from all, but six local restaurants. Other than the soup tastings, there was a section of the gallery where artists donated for the contest and the bowls for the attendees to take home.

“Knowing what an impact we make on the community each year keeps me working with the program,” said Stacy Finley, co-chair of the Empty Bowls steering committee.

Next year’s event will be held at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

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