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'Empty Bowls' Helps Fill Other Bowls

Annual fundraiser reminds people that every time they fill a bowl, someone else's bowl is empty.

Residents will come together next week at to share a simple meal of soup and bread. The soup will be served in a handmade ceramic bowl, that diners who participate in this fundraiser will take home at the end of the evening.

The bowls are beautiful, practical, and symbolic – handcrafted by students in the art department at and Hall high schools, and intended to remind people that even though they may be able to refill their own bowls, others are not so lucky.

Empty Bowls is a nationwide, community service-learning project whose purpose is to educate students about hunger and poverty. In West Hartford, this student-run hunger awareness program is jointly sponsored by Conard and Hall High Schools. 

Empty Bowls gives students the opportunity to develop and coordinate various activities – food drives, speakers, assemblies, etc. – throughout the year to raise funds for and awareness of the hunger needs of our community

This year-long effort culminates with the Empty Bowls Banquet, taking place this year on April 4 at Hall High. The ceramic bowls, handmade by students and staff, are filled with homemade soup, also made by students, and sold at the banquet to community members.

The ceramics teachers at Conard and Hall High Schools, Brigid Kennedy and Joanne Barry-Dutro, and their students, take on the monumental task of making approximately 400 handmade ceramic bowls each year, mostly done after-school hours or on weekends. The steps include shaping the bowl on a potter’s wheel, and then drying the clay before firing the bowls in the kiln. The final step to create the beautiful bowls is adding colorful glaze to the finished product. 

Also, each year the students and staff at the school where the dinner is being held are responsible for making the three varieties of soup to be served. Students at the other school that year make the desserts that are sold at the dinner. 

The Empty Bowls program began in West Hartford in 1999 at Hall High. It became a joint Conard and Hall program in 2000. To date, over $40,000 has been raised from the Empty Bowls Banquets. This money has been donated to local organizations including The West Hartford “Town That Cares” Fund, Foodshare, Hartford Food System’s Holcomb Farm, A Hand Up, Loaves and Fishes, and Westmoor Park’s “Plant a Row for the Hungry” . 

The Empty Bowls Banquet will be held on April 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Hall High School. Receive a beautiful handmade ceramic bowl, homemade soup, bread, and a beverage for the following donations: $12 for adults, $8 for students, and $4 for children under 10 years old.

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