Empty Bowls fundraiser: Fighting hunger one bowl at a time

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By Katie Manko

“Little do most people realize that… right around the esteemed gates of Union College [lies] children and families hungry and surviving on what they can get from local soup kitchens and shelters like the ones Empty Bowls donates to,” said Maddie Cullerton ‘13, who coordinated this year’s local fundraiser for Empty Bowls, an international grassroots movement to alleviate  hunger.

The fundraiser was held at Proctor’s G.E. Theatre on Sunday, April 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. and featured a variety of activities and entertainment. This event was the second year an Empty Bowls fundraising effort has taken place in the Schenectady area. All proceeds go directly to Bethesda House, a local homeless shelter, as well as to the City Mission of Schenectady. Both organizations help fight hunger locally. Union College students, staff, and community members volunteered throughout the evening to show their commitment to helping Schenectady. T he event successfully raised $1065 for its cause.

“I decided to help because it’s a good cause. There was a good turnout and a lot of students came. The food was great, we sold a lot of bowls and raised somewhere around 1000 dollars for Bethesda House. I tabled at the Greenmarket the day prior to the event and we actually got people who were interested and couldn’t make it to give donations. Overall, the event was successful and I had fun,” said Bobby Meeson ‘13.

The inspiration behind the grassroots organization is that an empty bowl symbolizes the worldwide issue of hunger and highlights that this problem is prevalent in our own community.

Each person who paid for admission to the event, which was $15 in advance and $20 if purchased at the fundraiser, received an authentic ceramic bowl that was handmade by students from Union College and Schenectady City Schools. At Union, Nancy Niefield, who teaches ceramics and owns Two Spruce Pottery studio and sales gallery in Schenectady, instructed and helped students create the bowls for the event.

Several local businesses, including Proctors, which provided the venue for the event, greatly contributed to the fundraiser and raising awareness about hunger.  Bombers Burrito Bar contributed chili; Our Daily Bread from Charham, NY donated bread; Union College Campus Kitchens provided brownies and Dining Services served food; the Union College Garnet Minstrelles, Dutch Pipers, and Eliphalets performed for participants; and a silent auction featuring local art and ceramics was conducted.

“I thought it was very fulfilling and nice to see Union students and the Schenectady community interacting in such a positive way,” said Cullerton. “Next year it’s going to be even bigger and I hope to see more Union students there supporting the community around them!”

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