Empty Bowl fundraiser at ETHS.

Evanston news delivered free to your inbox! 

On Dec. 7, Evanston Township High School students, faculty and administration lined up to buy soup, bread, and bowls for the 10th annual Empty Bowl fundraiser. Started in 2001 as a senior studies project, it has evolved into a huge yearly event organized by students.

“There is a need in the community for food to feed the hungry,” said Ms. Mary Collins, community service director at ETHS. “[And something] as little as lunch money can make a difference.”

Empty Bowl at ETHS was inspired by the national Empty Bowl fundraiser in which a simple meal of soup and bread is sold at a price of 5 dollars. For an extra 5 dollars, participants can purchase a handcrafted bowl. A silent auction is also held at ETHS, where participants can bid on the donated works of local artists.

The whole event is organized by students. Culinary students cook the soup, ceramics students make the bowls, and community service club students organize the event. Community partners such as Great Harvest Bread Co. and Bagel Art donate bread to the cause.

This year’s Co-Chair of the Empty Bowl committee from the community service club, Isabel Sturla, a junior at ETHS, said Empty Bowl gives a good name to community service. “It makes the idea of com service and giving back fun,” she said. “It really just changes the light on what it means to give back and help out.”

Empty Bowl raised $4,200 this year, the most in its history at ETHS. That money, said Ms. Collins, was enough to make 4100 meals in a soup kitchen. The funds raised went to two organizations, Hillside Food Pantry and Soup at Six.

Ceramics teacher Marla Seibold was in charge of the creation of the ceramic bowls. She said that the message is very important for students and faculty alike. “The whole message of making food, sharing food, eating it in a beautiful bowl, and then being able to take away the bowl as a reminder that not everyone has a bowl to fill with food is great,” she said.

As they look forward to next year, both Ms. Seibold and Ms. Collins say they hope to be moving into a bigger space to accommodate the growing number of attendees. “This is another example of ETHS kids and staff doing good things for our community,” said Ms. Collins. “There are always hungry people. We have to keep working to help them.”