“It could not have happened at a better time,” reports Lynn Senick, director of the Trehab Food Bank, which serves Susquehanna County. “Our shelves are near empty, and donations are way down just when we are heading into the season with the most need.” Senick was reflecting on the success of the Empty Bowl Project which was held in Montrose on Saturday, November 8. The event was held at Historic St. Paul’s Church, Montrose, and raised over $1,500 for the Food Bank and the Feed A Friend (Thanksgiving) Program.
The Empty Bowl Project had its beginning in 1990 when a high school art teacher in Michigan helped his students solve a problem of creativity –– how to raise money for a food drive.
The solution was a class project to make ceramic bowls for a fundraising meal. Guests were served a simple meal of soup and bread and were invited to keep the bowl as a reminder of world hunger.
The project has now spread across the country and this year the Summerhouse Grill, the Butternut Gallery & Second Story Books, and Historic St. Paul’s brought it to Susquehanna County. “We had potters from across the County make and donate 140 bowls to the Project,” says Betty Breyden of the Butternut Gallery. “They gave of their time and talents to make this a unique experience and success.”
Homemade soup and bread was served from 12Noon to 2 PM at St. Paul’s Parish House. A $10 donation at the door give the patron a handmade bowl, homemade soup and bread with all the proceeds benefiting the Trehab food banks in Montrose and Oakland. The Susquehanna Food Banks serve an average of 438 families per month.
“Along with the special bowls, volunteers made homemade soup and bread,” opined Marilyn Anthony of the Summerhouse Grill in Montrose. Anthony made a vegetarian pea soup, Fr. Jerry Safko, pastor of Holy Name of Mary RC Church made a butternut squash soup, and Mike Shinger of St. Paul’s a minestrone soup.
“It is amazing to witness our community coming together to address the needs in our community,” says Fr. Charles Cesaretti of St. Paul’s. “Along with the artists, cooks, bakers, and volunteer servers, we had local businesses support the effort, especially Pump N’ Pantry and Price Chopper.”