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Empty Bowls raises more than $7,000

Article Published: Apr. 7, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Empty Bowls raises more than $7,000

Students at Watauga High School serve soup provided by local restaurants along with bread donated by Stick Boy Bread Company at the 10th annual Empty Bowls dinner last Saturday. Photos by Jeff Eason

This year has been a challenge for folks who organize events at Watauga High School. After hosting plays, sporting events and special gatherings at the old high school for decades, those folks had to rethink how to host those same events at the new high school.

Last Saturday, students and teachers from the WHS art programs hosted the 10th annual Empty Bowls Dinner, a benefit event that raises money for the Hunger and Health Coalition. Despite serving a record number of attendees, the event was a smashing success, raising more than $7,000 for the Hunger and Health Coalition.

"We served 375 members of the public with about 40 to 50 student volunteers," said Whit Whitaker, ceramics instructor at WHS and one of the principal organizers of Empty Bowls for the past decade.

Under the guidance of Whitaker and other instructors, art students study world hunger and then create ceramic bowls and posters for the Empty Bowls dinner. Area ceramic artists and students from other Watauga County Schools contribute bowls for the event, as well.

On the night of Empty Bowls, diners pay $15 for a ceramic bowl of their choosing and then select a soup or stew from a selection provided by area restaurants. This year's event featured Brunswick stew from Woodlands Barbecue and Pickin' Parlor, basil minestrone soup from Casa Rustica, potato soup from Pepper's, curry butternut squash soup from Melanie's Food Fantasy, traditional chili from Troy's 105 Diner, and Thai chicken curry soup from Earth Fare.

Not only did diners enjoy a delicious meal with the knowledge that they were helping less fortunate people in our county, but they also were entertained while they dined.

Bluegrass band High Strung, featuring high school students Brian Greer, Dana Landress, Alex Jolly, Daniel Greene and Adrian Sethi, performed in the WHS Commons. And the cast of the WHS musical, "Footloose," performed the title song from the stage show in a "flash mob" style of performance that took most of the crowd by surprise.

By raising more than $7,000 for the Hunger and Health Coalition this year, Watauga High's Empty Bowls dinner broke its previous record of $6,600, set in 2009. The official tally will be released next week and a check presented to a representative of the Hunger and Health Coalition in the near future.

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