ESU Empty Bowls Fights Hunger

SC Staff Writer

Dr. Robert McMullin, Hotel Restaurant and Tourism Management, organized this year’s sixth annual Empty Bowls luncheon and fundraiser held in the Keystone Room at East Stroudsburg University on March 14, 2013 from 11:30 to 2 P.M. in order to take a stand against world hunger.

Empty Bowls is a recurring project through a nonprofit organization called the Imagine Rener Group as part of the Grassroots Movement Foundation, which specializes in feeding the hungry. Empty Bowls is an international cause which gains money from various sponsors. Volunteers hand make the bowls from clay in their unique style, and let them settle overnight. Crafters return at a later date to paint their bowls.

After, the bowls are left to dry, clear coated, and fired in a kiln. These creations were showcased at the Empty Bowls Luncheon where diners who attended were served crudités’, soup, dessert and a beverage.

After the meal, patrons took with them one of the bowls as a symbol of all the people who are starving throughout the world. According to Empty Bowl’s website, 1 out of 8 Americas suffer from hunger due to the inability to obtain sufficient food. Tickets for this year’s luncheon were sold for 10 dollars, and all proceeds were donated to groups who help feed the hungry and stop food shortages around the globe.

Empty Bowls began on East Stroudsburg’s campus in fall of 2006 when Dr. Marilyn Narey, who used to teach Art in Childhood Education in the Fine Arts building at ESU, proposed the idea and received permission to host the event on East Stroudsburg’s campus. For the past five years, Narey taught volunteers how to craft the bowls, and had students in her class participate as part of a service learning project.

Narey teamed up with McMullin to organize the first event. McMullin’s Restaurant and Tourism students also constructed bowls. Various clubs including teaching honorary Kappa Delta Pi, the Hotel Restaurant Club, and the Sociology Club also have active participants. Last year, in March of 2012, Empty Bowls at East Stroudsburg raised nearly $2,000 for the East Stroudsburg Salvation Food Bank.

Last semester, Narey accepted another position closer to her home, and Joni Oye-Benintende in the Art department, now works with the Hotel Restaurant Club and other classes in the Hotel Restaurant and Tourism Management major to hand craft bowls under her supervision. McMullin says, “Her ceramics class has also provided very good quality hand crafted ceramic bowls which will be available at the event, along with the other bowls.”

In order to raise additional money for the event, local businesses donated gift cards to be raffled off for a dollar per raffle ticket. The money raised from this portion of the fundraiser will also go to an organization, which will help to aid the hungry. Through this year’s Empty Bowls, ESU was able to raise awareness and provide help to starving families.

Email Kristen at: