Empty Bowls raises thousands for Schenectady’s hungry

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By Carina Sorrentino

This past Sunday Empty Bowls held the final supplemental event of its year-long efforts that serve to fundraise for three organizations in Schenectady. Empty Bowls’ primary goal is feeding the many people who go hungry in Schenectady on a daily basis. The money raised goes to Bethesda House, City Mission and Concern for the Hungry.

Empty Bowls is an “international grassroots effort,” created with the mission of raising awareness and funds to combat hunger.

Students have worked tirelessly to incorporate the campus community in at least one aspect of the fundraising process. In order to raise money, two 50-50 raffles were held this year and tickets to the main event were sold in Reamer.

The ceramic bowls that are claimed by those who attend the event are made in the ceramics house.

The initial workshop invites students to come and create the bowls with the help of instructors. After the bowls are fired, students can attend a second workshop in the spring, getting creative and glazing the bowls to create the final products.

All of the preparations see the final product in the main event, which was a dinner at Proctor’s Theater, where Union a capella groups performed and attendees were able to take home one of the hand-made ceramic bowls.

The organization’s use of ceramic bowls as a take-home from the event serves as a reminder of all of the empty bowls in the world today.

In the past two years, Empty Bowls has raised $3,000 and has set the bar higher for next year, with hopes to make it to $4,000. Stefan Basile ’15 commented, “100 percent of the money raised goes to these organizations, so they love it. It feels great to help people in need, as well as to improve the relationship between Union and Schenectady.”

The group is comprised of a student board, Basile, Gerardo Reyes ’15, Jennifer Sexton ’15 and Bin Chen ’15, and is assisted by the Kenney Community Center’s Angela Tatem. Empty Bowls is looking for new students to get involved with the project for next year.

Empty Bowls serves as an exemplary volunteer organization at Union, synthesizing the arts and education in order to teach lessons about the struggles people face every day, even in our own neighborhood.

The project itself is important to the Schenectady community and is an innovative way for students to branch outside of Union’s gates. “It is very important that students stay involved,” Basile remarked. “There are a lot of people around us that go hungry on a consistent basis, and it feels great to help them!”

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