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Bowling Over Hunger

By Jeff Eason (eason@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Mar. 20 | Modified: Mar. 30
Bowling Over Hunger

Empty Bowls offers the public the opportunity to purchase a handmade ceramic bowl filled with homemade soup, freshly baked bread, beverage and dessert for a minimum donation of $15.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero



At Watauga High School, students are learning everything from biology to car repair, from the fine arts to health and fitness.

They are also learning what it means to be part of a community.

Each year, students at WHS work to put on the Empty Bowls dinner, a community event that raises much needed funds for the Hunger and Health Coalition. In a decade and a half, the Empty Bowls dinner has raised more than $60,000 for the cause.

Empty Bowls offers the public the opportunity to purchase a handmade ceramic bowl filled with homemade soup, freshly baked bread, beverage and dessert for a minimum donation of $15. The event also includes a silent auction, live music and a student art display.

The 13th annual Empty Bowls dinner will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, in the commons area (main floor) of Watauga High School.

“Many of our local folks want to be a part of and support this community event, in which all proceeds benefit the Hunger and Health Coalition,” ceramics instructor Whit Whitaker said.

“There are still some in our community who are under the mistaken perception this is a fundraiser for the students or Watauga High School when, in fact, nothing is further from the truth. The students all donate their time in public service, creating a valuable opportunity for our community to come together and unite in generating much needed assistance to help those experiencing hunger and food shortage.”

WHS student Rachel Greene is coordinating this year’s event, and visual arts student Brandon Burton designed the 2014 Empty Bowls poster in Deborah Jean Sheets’ Scientific and Technical Visualization class.

The bowls themselves have been molded, glazed and fired by ceramic students in Whitaker’s pottery classes. Other bowls were created by students in other Watauga County schools under the direction of art instructors Jill Huffman and Rae Filsinger, and others were donated by area potters.

Artwork for the Empty Bowls dinner was created by WHS art students under the direction of instructors Dacia Trethewey, Susan Dunn and Lori Hill.

Some of the most celebrated restaurants in the High Country will be on hand with a variety of soups and stews.

Stick Boy Bread Company will provide freshly baked dinner rolls.

Bare Essentials Natural Market, a longtime supporter of the Empty Bowls silent auction, will provide reverse osmosis water and iced tea at the dinner.

The parents organization, Friends of Watauga High School, will bring a wide variety of homemade desserts.

According to Compton Fortuna, director of the Hunger and Health Coalition, WHS’s Empty Bowls dinners have raised $64,200 for the organization’s food pantry program in the event’s first 12 years. She equates that to providing 321,000 pounds of food to needy families in the area.

“The Empty Bowls Dinner is a wonderful example of bringing the community together to create a unique event whose success benefits local families,” Fortuna said. “We are honored to work in a community that generously offers compassion and support to help those in need. We look forward to working with the Watauga High School students on the Empty Bowls Dinner for many years to come.”

Last year’s event raised $8,200 for the Hunger and Health Coalition, the most ever in the history of WHS’s Empty Bowls dinners. Organizers are hoping that this year’s event raises even more money.
For more information, or to offer items for the Empty Bowls silent auction, call (828) 264-2407, or email (whitakerw@watauga.k12.nc.us)

Additional Images

Empty Bowls offers the public the opportunity to purchase a handmade ceramic bowl filled with homemade soup, freshly baked bread, beverage and dessert for a minimum donation of $15.
Photo by Frank Ruggiero

The bowls themselves have been molded, glazed and fired by ceramic students in Whitaker’s pottery classes. Other bowls were created by students in other Watauga County schools under the direction of art instructors Jill Huffman and Rae Filsinger, and others were donated by area potters.
Photo by Jeff Eason

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