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Wittenberg To Host 17th Annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser March 24

March 16, 2011  
 Filed in Community, Events

Springfield, Ohio – For the 17th consecutive year, members of the Wittenberg University and greater Springfield communities have exemplified the very best in cooperative spirit by organizing an Empty Bowls fundraiser. Hosted by Wittenberg’s Department of Art with support from local sponsors and donors, Empty Bowls is scheduled for 4-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, in the Center Dining Room (CDR) on the second floor of the Benham-Pence Student Center.

The price of the bowl and dinner remains at $15 per person, which entitles participants to a hand-crafted bowl for soup and access to a soup, salad and bread buffet. The fundraising goal for the 2011 event is $38,000.

“This is truly a community event that brings in many people from Springfield and is a major fundraising event for Second Harvest Food Bank,” said Professor of Art and Department Chair Scott Dooley. Dooley has managed the university’s role in hosting the event since coming to campus in 2000. He especially enjoys seeing his craft used to help others.

The 2010-11 student coordinator for the event, Jeremy Block, class of 2011 from Gainesville, Fla., agrees.

“As you’re watching people go through the bowls and see them choose your bowls, it’s a great feeling,” Block said. “The biggest thing for me is to know the cause and what it’s doing for others.”

Block participated in Empty Bowls during two previous years – last year working as an understudy after already committing to his community service project for 2010-11. He also threw bowls last summer for an Empty Bowls event in Chicago during the Witt Nation tour.

The beneficiary of the proceeds from the event is Second Harvest Food Bank, which provides food supplies to the poor and homeless in the community. Anna Plataniotis, events coordinator for Catholic Social Services/Second Harvest Food Bank, publicizes the event in the community and helps with food donations and meets with local sponsors.

“Empty Bowls is a wonderful opportunity for everyone in the community to be involved in the fight against hunger,” Plataniotis said. “The Wittenberg students work all year to provide these beautiful bowls for the event, sponsors donate food and funds to provide the meal, and the public attends to help support our efforts. In all, it’s a great community event.”

Last year, Second Harvest agencies served 2.7 million meals to 299,504 men, women and children across Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties. This included almost 63,000 hungry families, and an average of 5,333 children a month in Springfield. Approximately 1,659 seniors were served monthly, a 24 percent increase over the previous year. The 2010 Empty Bowls event raised more than $35,000, which included bowl sales and sponsorships to help in these efforts to feed those in need in our area.

“We hope people will join us and learn a little more about how hunger is affecting our community,” Plataniotis said. “And patrons get to keep their bowl as a reminder of our fight against hunger.”

Major event sponsors for the 2011 event include Dr. Dana and Judy King, Madison Avenue Pharmacy, G.O.C. Ladies Philoptochos Society, Villa Springfield Health and Rehabilitation Center and Sodexo. V.I.P. Sponsors include Amedisys Home Health of Springfield, Home City Federal Savings Bank, Merchants National Bank, Rollins Moving & Storage, Speedway LLC, and Wallace & Turner Insurance. Soup donors include Bob Evans Farm, Casey’s Restaurant, Mic’s Italian Restaurant, O’Charley’s Restaurant, Seasons Bistro Bar & Grille and Sodexo Catering Service.

“Bowls are stacking up,” said Block, who is lining up entertainers for the event. “Our plans are aligned and we are moving above and beyond our expectations.”

In addition to throwing, the bowls need trimmed, fired and glazed. A record-breaking 223 bowls were thrown on Feb. 5 by Michael Chambers, class of 2011 from Tiffin, Ohio, Danny Nicholas, class of 2011 from Indianapolis, Ind., Charlotte Gordon, curator of the Springfield Museum of Art, Alisa Mizikar, Wittenberg reference librarian, Dooley and Block.

On the day of the event, Block will oversee the packaging of the bowls and will coordinate their transport to the CDR, with the help of student volunteers. Changes this year include forming the patron lines in a manner that will not obstruct the coming and going of others or the bowl selection. Also, Block will add a master of ceremonies to introduce the student entertainment and to remind patrons of the silent auction taking place.

T-shirts designed by Eliza Waggoner, Wittenberg class of 2008, will be available for purchase and a silent auction will take place again this year.

As always, each bowl will be washed by a volunteer before taken home, a reminder that every night someone’s bowl is empty and many people in our community are hungry. Many years the bowls sell out – if this happens, patrons may enjoy a meal at a reduced price using disposable bowls.

Rainbow Table 1 and Un Mundo soup kitchen will share any leftover food items from the event the next day.

Free parking is available in the lots behind Krieg Hall and the Benham-Pence Student Center, and both have entrances off West Ward Street.

“I am proud to say that we have been able to grow this project by leaps and bounds even through the tough economic climate of the last several years,” Dooley said.

Written By: Phyllis Eberts
Photos By: Erin Pence

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