2018-04-16 / Front Page

Filling area food pantries

Nearly 500 people attend annual Empty Bowls dinner
By APRIL FEAGLEY staff Writer


Volunteer Barb Eastman filled hand-crafted bowls with servings of soup at the 12th annual Empty Bowls dinner Saturday night at Baker Refectory in Ellis Hall at Juniata College. 
Photo by APRIL FEAGLEY Volunteer Barb Eastman filled hand-crafted bowls with servings of soup at the 12th annual Empty Bowls dinner Saturday night at Baker Refectory in Ellis Hall at Juniata College. Photo by APRIL FEAGLEY Nearly 500 people filled Baker Refectory in Ellis Hall at Juniata College Saturday night to take part in the 12th annual Empty Bowls dinner.

Diners began the experience by selecting from the beautifully hand-crafted bowls created by Juniata College students especially for the event.

Event organizers, Juniata College associate professor of art Bethany Benson, Juniata College Catholic campus minister Lisa Baer and Juniata College’s “first lady” Jennifer Troha, said they were very pleased with the turnout.

“We did a large presale this year and sold over 200 tickets. We’ve never sold that many tickets before the event,” said Baer. “We limited the number of bowls to about 520 this year, so we didn’t have a lot of extra bowls. This way we can start fresh each year.”

This year’s event raised funds for Huntingdon Food Pantry, the Mount Union Food Pantry, the Southern Huntingdon County Food Bank, the Salvation Army Food Pantry and the backpack food program at Standing Stone and Southside elementary schools.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Troha said. “The donations came in, almost everyone we asked who had given last year did again this year. We have more bread this year than we did last year.”

Area businesses and individuals donated gallons of soup to fill those empty bowls.

“This is a way that artists can utilize their talents and be philanthropic. There is a class that the students do and obtain course credits for it,” said Benson. “There are other classes they can get credits as well and they could keep their works to give away or sell, but we have students who want to make the bowls for the cause. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to produce such good quality pieces.”

Students also used the opportunity to experiment with new techniques and glazes.

“One of the new glazes was ‘Becky’s blue.’ That’s been a big hit,” Benson said. “It’s a shiny blue glaze with purple crystals in it.”

Although the food is delicious, it’s the bowls that seem to add to the popularity of the annual event.

“They look amazing and wonderful. It’s all about the bowls, the soup and the people,” said Baer. “The cause sticks with a lot of people. People are always very receptive.”

“I think people like the concept,” Benson said. “People’s cupboards fill with bowls, but some give them as gifts or simply donate money to support the event. It’s special because of the collaboration of Juniata and the community.”

New for this year was a silent auction of special works created and donated by Juniata College students and faculty to bring in even more funds to benefit the local food pantries.

April can be reached at afeagley@huntingdondailynews.com.

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