He was given a tour…first, he saw an enormous room, filled with long tables, benches on either side. The benches were filled with people who were trying to eat. Unfortunately each only had a spoon that was longer than their arms. It was not working, and they were unhappy. The man was told ‘this is hell’.
The next room was pretty much the same scene: long tables, crowded benches, many people, with oversize spoons. He was then told ‘this is heaven’. He was puzzled, until he realized the difference was these people were smiling…because they learned how to feed each other.
I LOVE THIS STORY> In a nutshell, it illustrates how we can grow and thrive as a species. OR-what could be the very death of us. Maybe that is why I am so excited about this program called Empty Bowls, it is win-win-win, and so very life-affirming.
Empty Bowls is an international project that got its start 22 years ago when John Hartom, an art teacher in Michigan partnered with his friend Lisa Blackstone, and got involved in a fund-raising campaign in their community. They wanted to create an event where artists and art students could participate, and make a difference.
His students made bowls to be used as serving pieces at a fund-raising meal of soup and bread. After they ate, and were told they could keep the bowls, patrons were silent. All were touched; many, in fact wept, and they all realized what they had on their hands. That was many events, and millions of dollars ago.
Today under the ImagineRENDER Group, Empty Bowl programs abound in at least a dozen other countries. While each community structures it to their own resources, they are all called Empty Bowl events, and the mission is singular: to raise money to end hunger and food insecurity.
This coming Sunday, January 29th, from 11:30am to 12:30 pm you can be a part of this fund-raising effort, right in your own backyard, when the Rye Presbyterian Church Youth Group hosts their Twelfth Annual Empty Bowls Event in the Churchs’ Assembly Room.
The event is co-sponsored with the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, and all funds raised go to the Port Chester Interfaith Soup Kitchens, an organization of 3 soup kitchens and food pantries in Port Chester. In the last 11 years, close to $55,000.00 has been raised.
For the last month the twenty-plus members of the Youth Group (sixth through eighth graders) have worked with local artists and members of the community to make bowls for the event. Last count there were close to 300 that were made, glazed and fired at CAC.
Most bowls will fall between the $10.00-75.00 range, with soups courtesy of Corner Stone Caterers in Rye, with The Kneaded Bread of Port Chester providing the artisan breads. Come, and bring your friends. Buy a bowl, enjoy some soup, and support the community.
This is my bowl, made earlier in the month at the Clay Art Center. When it was done, we were asked to sign it…XOX, for love to whoever eats from it seemed exactly the right marking.