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‘Empty Bowls’ Fundraiser Shoots For New High

The high school's ceramics program aims to raise its biggest total yet in its role as part of grassroots effort to aid the hungry.

Coronado High School's , coming up at 5 p.m. Thursday, has racked up some impressive numbers:

  • More than 1,000 bowls have been crafted for distribution this year.
  • 150 students did the work creating the majority of them.
  • Local restaurants will provide 66 gallons of soup to fill them.
  • And best of all, students have raised more than $50,000 since the program began in 2007.

If the fundraiser hits its $18,000 goal this year, the proceeds will have quadrupled after just six events.

The effort is part of a grassroots campaign launched in a Michigan high school 20 years ago that now has international reach. Coronado High joined in at the behest of teacher Eric Rempe.

The concept is simple: Artisans and students create bowls from scratch, shaping, firing and decorating them. They then host an event, serve soup in the bowls and ask the participants to take them home as a reminder that some people stare into empty bowls with little hope of filling them.

The Coronado event costs $20 for soup and a bowl or $10 for a bowl alone. There also will be a silent auction featuring dozens of items, including paintings, ceramics and fishing and sailing trips.

It's a collaborative effort. This week, Rempe's classes lined up to wrap spoons in napkins for Thursday and sand the bottom of the bowls, to smoothe the rough edges.  

“In theory, you could buy a bowl that maybe six different kids have worked on,” he said. 

The program continues to add new wrinkles. Parents who donated $100 were invited to a class taught by their children April 10. That raised an additional $2,000.

The proceeds benefit the Hunger Project, a San Diego charity that feeds 700 people a week.

Rempe's students had a hand in virtually every step of the process, as part of his goal to make the event “as student-driven as possible, so they have as much ownership as possible.”

To that end, Morgan Montgomery, 16, sat in the school's ceramics studio this week creating her sheet for the auction, to which she has donated two watercolor paintings. The junior has attended Empty Bowls since her freshman year. Now she has created bowls for the event too.

What makes the fundraiser unique?

“You get to come home with a piece of it,” Morgan said.

Jennifer Vigil April 19, 2012 at 04:54 PM
An additional note: Mr. Rempe wanted to give a shoutout to the restaurants donating soup for Empty Bowls. They are: the Firehouse, Cafe 1134, Boney's Bayside, Peohe's, Vigilucci's, Village Pizza, Candela's Downtown, Souplantation, Charlie's Bread, Bread & Cie, and Island Cafe/CUSD Food Services and CHS/Palm culinary classes. Much thanks!

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