The analogy of whether a partial glass of water is half-full or half-empty has been around for generations.
I heard it when a college classmate had interviewed for the Peace Corps. The interviewer wanted to know if she was an optimist or a pessimist. I’m guessing the half-empty applicants did not make the cut.
But what if we are looking at an empty soup bowl? Is it empty because we just finished eating a hot bowl of soup? Or was it never filled to begin with?
“Hunger,” according to Feeding America, “refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the level of the household.”
The nonprofit organization adds that one in eight Americans are food-insecure.
According to farmingtofighthunger.com, 41 million people struggle with hunger in the United States, including 13 million children. Teachers state that 62% of students come to school hungry, the website says.
Central Ohio is not immune to food insecurity. According to a 2018 article by Rita Price in The Columbus Dispatch, one-third of families in Columbus experience it.
Locally, people are working to help put food on people’s tables and in their bowls.
That’s where Empty Bowls, an international movement that began about three decades ago and in which many communities participate, comes in.
Now in its 22nd year, a local Empty Bowls project has raised more than $275,000 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
“As part of an international fight against hunger, ceramic bowls are made by Columbus Recreation and Parks staff, volunteers and partners of all ages and then put on display at our partner locations,” said Wendy Frantz, Empty Bowls project coordinator and recreation administrative manager.
For a $10 minimum donation, the public is invited to select a bowl and enjoy a meal of homemade soup and bread, Frantz said.
The project is a collaborative effort among the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, several churches and a variety of businesses and program sponsors, she said.
I still have the ceramic bowl made by a girl in the Grove City Parks and Recreation Department in 2000, the first time I attended an Empty Bowls event. Last year, I purchased another.
“The funds are nonrestricted funds, meaning they go toward feeding hungry neighbors and can potentially cover other expenses that will allow the food bank to operate,” said Malik Perkins, public relations manager for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. “When funds are used to purchase food, $1 can buy up to $10 in groceries for the people we serve.
“We are thankful to have a network of generous people who are willing to join us in our fight to end hunger.”
People of all ages can make a bowl at several community centers. Events include:
• Woodward Park Community Center, 5147 Karl Road, Columbus, 1 to 2:30 and 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 24.
• Far East Community Center, 1826 Lattimer Drive, Columbus, with parent/child bowl-making classes at 6:15 p.m. Tuesdays in October.
• Tuttle Park Community Center, 240 W. Oakland Ave., Columbus, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, Sept. 19 through Oct. 17.
• Martin Janis Community Senior Center, 600 E. 11th Ave., Columbus, 2 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 30.
After the bowls are completed, events to sell the bowls and enjoy soup and bread begin. Events on Nov. 2 include:
• Parkview United Methodist Church, 344 S. Algonquin Ave., Columbus, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Tuttle Park Community Center, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Woodward Park Community Center, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, 2213 White Road, Grove City, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more events and details, go to columbus.gov/emptybowls.
Local author Liz Thompson writes the Day by Day column for ThisWeek Community News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.