The Columbus Academy Soup for Shelter event checks several boxes for a holiday event: feeding guests, providing a learning opportunity for students and offering the opportunity to support others in need.

Charity White, an Upper School ceramics teacher at Columbus Academy, said the concept of Empty Bowls, an international project to fight hunger, is a "pretty common" fundraiser for pottery shops and artists.

She said Columbus Academy teamed up with the Westerville Habitat Partnership, which has been organizing a Progressive Christmas Concert in December at three Uptown Westerville churches: Church of the Master, 24 N. Grove St.; Church of the Messiah, 51 N. State St.; and First Presbyterian Church, 41 W. College Ave.

The Soup for Shelter has provided a dinner option for those heading out to the concerts.

This year's fourth annual event took place Dec. 13 at the Campus Center of Otterbein University, 100 W. Home St.

For $15 or $16 online, attendees received a handcrafted bowl the Columbus Academy students contributed, soup, bread, a cookie and a choice of beverage, according to westervillehabitat.org.

White said students made the bowls in partnership with local artists, with work ongoing since the middle of August.

White said 55 students in grades 9 to 12 crafted the clay bowls and, in many cases, learned the process for the first time.

"For some of them, it's their first time throwing (clay) so they're trying to get down the process," she said. "It takes them a while with the firing process also."

The bowls are fired, glazed and fired again, which, she said, increases the complexity of the project.

Matthew D'Oyly, director of events and conferences for Otterbein University, said the university partnered with Columbus Academy to provide the space and Parkhurst Dining, Otterbein's dining-services provider, donated food.

D'Oyly said about 300 people attended this year.

"It's a really nice holiday event," he said.

White said 600 bowls were able to be purchased this year. She said all of the proceeds will go toward a wall build in August for a Habitat for Humanity house.

"The community will be who helps build the framework structure of the home," she said.

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