Empty bowls for empty bellies

Emily Harris/The News Amanda Vancura, senior from Samsonia, was one of the workers helping out with the event.

Story by Gisselle Hernandez, Assistant Features Editor

Emily Harris/The News Amanda Vancura, senior from Samsonia, was one of the workers helping out with the event.

Emily Harris/The News
Amanda Vancura, senior from Samsonia, was one of the workers helping out with the event.

The Murray Art Guild, or MAG, hosted its fifth annual Empty Bowls event, which raises money for the Murray Need Line, at their establishment on Oct. 23 at 5 p.m.

The Empty Bowls event is a project created by the Imagine Render Group and is defined as an international grassroots effort to raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger, according to emptybowls.net. The Murray Art Guild has been hosting this event for the past five years. Executive director of  MAG, Debi Danielson, said this year the community participated more than ever before.

The project involved local artists, MAG members, students and community members hand crafting bowls out of clay in the MAG studio prior to the event, that were in turn used to serve soup on the day of the event. The bowl-making began in March, when Special Olympics delegates, Murray Women’s Club, students from Richmond Residential College, Alpha Delta Pi members and many other groups paid three dollars to begin creating their bowls.

The goal was to make 200 bowls and Danielson said the goal was met, with even more people wanting to participate but they were turned away due to limited time. The long process of actually making the bowls, which required having the clay dried, fired and glazed, then fired again, would not allow additional bowls to be ready by the day of the event.

The Nutrition Student Association of Murray State and community volunteers contributed the soups served that day, ranging from chicken tortilla to pasta and beans. The students and community members also volunteered.

The outdoor event was held at MAG with the handcrafted bowls on display for supporters to pick one they wanted their soup to be served in. For $15, supporters were able to take the bowl home. A five dollar donation was required for those who did not wish to take home a bowl. All proceeds were made to benefit the Murray Need Lååine which serves more than 1,000 people in the community. The event also had a musical guest appearance by local artist Johnny B, who entertained the audience as they ate their soup.

Emily Harris/The News Supporters of Murray Art Guild's "Empty Bowl's Event" handcrafted soup bowls for $15 each.

Emily Harris/The News
Supporters of Murray Art Guild’s “Empty Bowl’s Event” handcrafted soup bowls for $15 each.

Emily Kennedy, a Murray resident and member of the MAG who has been attending the event for several years, now possesses a collection of handcrafted bowls.

“I thoroughly enjoyed [the event],” she said. “We get to see all sorts of people, enjoy good soup and we all get to bring home pretty bowls we enjoy.”

The event does not only help to reduce food insecurities in the community, but helps in the MAG’s recognition as well. Many local artists  who were discovered as supporters of the Empty Bowls event took shelter inside the Art Guild as rain drizzled later that evening.

Renee Campoy, professor of education and human services, attended the event for the first time after having created a bowl for the event, describing it as having “crooked edges but beautiful in its own way.”  She agreed that is an effective way to raise awareness about the hunger in Murray but it is good for the art guild, too.

Lynn Patterson, professor of the elementary program and Campoy’s colleague, also had never been to the event before and was glad she discovered the art guild.

“[Campoy] introduced me to the art guild and it is amazing,” she said. “We will definitely be back every year after this.”

Danielson said the MAG is always partnering up with other nonprofit organizations to raise funds for the guild and other charities as well. “One thing people don’t realize is that [Need Line] also helps people with utility bills, medical costs, and prescriptions among other things. So they really do a lot to serve the community,” she said. “It is always super fun to deliver that check to Need Line.”