Empty Bowls Bring Filled Plates to the Tables of Struggling San Diegans

Nine years ago, my mother sent me an article from her hometown newspaper in Davis, Calif.  It was highlighting a charity event that several local schools were involved with.  It was called “The Empty Bowl Project,” wherein students created bowls and hosted a luncheon to sell them, with all the proceeds being donated to local food shelters. I was immediately inspired and brought the article to school and shared with my ceramics classes.

My students were equally enthusiastic about taking up the cause, and so we embarked on our own Empty Bowl Project here at San Marcos High School. It’s been an amazing journey ever since. Students have learned to use their ceramic skills for the greater good and the true meaning of giving. And the infectious ripple-effect of altruism has grown steadily every year.  We have had record-breaking marks every year since we started, raising over $20,000 for local food banks.

Every year it gets larger and more people jump on board to support the cause. In fact, it has grown so large that to meet bowl demands; I had to start a secondary support event called “Midnight Madness Bowl-ing Marathon.”  For this, a few weeks before our Empty Bowl event, I select a small group of dedicated students to make bowls all night until sunup. For our continued efforts, we have been nationally recognized by the California State Senate as a “We Fight Hunger” school, and last year were featured in an international Empty Bowls exhibition at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.  It’s one of the few events that bring together students, parents, staff, District Office personnel, and School Board Members all for a great cause. It’s become a marquee event here on our campus. We look forward to supporting The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank while continuing our quest to fill others’ empty bowls well into the future.