Filling up the empty bowls

Filling up the empty bowls
Ceramics teacher Brady Stout began the Empty Bowl fundraiser eight years ago. One in five people in North County do not know where their next meal is coming from. Photo by Promise Yee

High school takes part in nationwide effort to rid hunger

SAN MARCOS — The ceramics room at San Marcos High School was filled with a rainbow of handmade bowls for guests to select, and fill with soup, pasta or salad for the Empty Bowl fundraiser on March 28.

Money from the fundraiser is donated to North County Community Services Food Bank, which helps feed families and individuals in North County.

“It’s a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of energy,” Michael Lawson, director of North County Community Services Food Bank, said of the event.

“Teachers and administrators come. Many come year after year to add a bowl to their collection.”

The event was elegant and upbeat.

Linen-covered tables were set up on the patio courtyard just outside the art class.

Students, teachers, alumni and parents purchased lunch bowls and enjoyed the lunch hour listening to the school band and viewing student artwork.

Beyond the dining tables the buffet line offered a selection of entrées made by parents, teachers and local restaurants.

High school senior Xiamora Martinez serves up a bowl of chili to Michael Lawson, director of North County Community Services Food Bank. San Marcos High School partners with the food bank for the fundraiser. Photo by Promise Yee

High school senior Xiamora Martinez serves up a bowl of chili to Michael Lawson, director of North County Community Services Food Bank. San Marcos High School partners with the food bank for the fundraiser. Photo by Promise Yee

Students who made the bowls also volunteered as servers.

High school senior Jessi Vargas, who was serving pasta salad, said he saw his bowl and let the person who purchased it know he was the one who made it.

“I told them it was mine, it was too cool,” Vargas said.

The process to make a ceramic bowl takes two weeks. Bowls are shaped, dried, glazed and fired.

Vargas said he tried to make the bowls he created for the fundraiser unique and appealing.

The annual fundraiser is organized by ceramics and sculptor teacher Brady Stout, and has been held at the high school for eight years.

Stout said Empty Bowl is a nationwide fundraiser event he heard about, and asked his students if they would be interested in participating in.

The first year students made 65 bowls.

Last year 300 bowls were created and sold for $10 each, which raised $3,000 to donate to the food bank.

Over the years other arts classes have gotten involved and provided entertainment and displays of artwork during the lunch.

“The really cool part is it’s the only event that happens on school campus and brings together students, staff and district personnel for a common cause,” Stout said.

Stout said the fundraiser is a life lesson for students.

They experience giving through hands-on service and fundraising, and recognize a real community need.

“It’s a valuable lesson in benevolence,” Stout said.

North County Community Services Food Bank provides food to more than 100 nonprofit organizations for distribution, and also holds food distributions at several locations in North County.

“We’re the one warehouse in all of North County,” Lawson said. “We distribute to 18,250 square miles.”

The need is great. One in five people in North County experience food insecurity and do not know where their next meal is coming from.

That includes one in four children, and one in eight senior citizens.

To help address that need food and monetary donations from grocery stores, farmers, food drives and fundraisers are collected and distributed by North County Community Services Food Bank.

Last year 243,338 individuals were served by the food bank.

Stout said he discusses the need with his students, including the fact that some students who attend the high school are dependent on the food bank for their meals.

A $1 donation to the food bank provides four meals.

A bowl sold at the fundraiser for $10 provides 40 meals.

Mission Hills High School will hold an Empty Bowl fundraiser April 17.

 

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