Empty Bowls project helps fill food pantry's shelves
Gahanna's Royal Manor Elementary School has been helping fill the dinner plates of local families in need with its annual Empty Bowls project for six years.
Fifth-grade social studies teacher Tammie Miller-Wiard said this year's March 21 event raised $1,831, and money still coming in. All proceeds benefit Gahanna Residents In Need, a communitywide, faith-based organization founded in 1998 with a food pantry at Mifflin Presbyterian Church.
"It was wonderful," Miller-Wiard said. "We had a great night and raised a lot of money. The kids did a wonderful job."
In past years, the school has raised $7,000 for GRIN.
Empty Bowls is held in conjunction with the Royal Manor Art Show and Open House and is the signature event of the school year.
"We make 100 bowls every year," Miller-Wiard said. "High school students throw (shape) the bowls and my students decorate and glaze them."
The schools' guests make a $10 donation per family and enjoy a dinner of soup and rolls.
Participants are asked to keep the bowls as a reminder of all of the empty bowls in the world.
Miller-Wiard said the fifth-graders do all of the committee work for Empty Bowls.
"I tie it into the economics unit and rights and responsibilities as citizens," she said. "They have to apply for a job, and they do all the advertising and decorating."
To make a higher profit, the students even color white place mats instead of purchasing colored ones.
Fifth-grader Avery Rhodes, 11, made a DVD that was played during the evening, showing the students decorating the bowls.
"I'm glad we raised money to help the people who are hungry," he said. "It means a lot."
Miller-Wiard said the goal is to help fight hunger.
"The students research hunger and how it affects the community, nation and world," she said. "It's so important for my kids to know that no matter how old you are, you can make a difference in the world. Some kids have said their family has used GRIN. No one knows when you'll need help."
Miller-Wiard said the student class that inaugurated Empty Bowls is at the high school now, and some of them are making the bowls in ceramics teacher Margaret Scott's class.
"That's really fun," she said. "It's a great circle of life. I'm proud of the kids. They rise to the occasion every year."
Miller-Wiard teaches Royal Manor's 77 fifth-graders in social studies and language arts.
Royal Manor art teacher Julie Kearney also helps with the bowls.
Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger and was created by the Imagine Render Group, a nonprofit organization that strives to create positive and lasting social change through the arts, education and projects that build community.