November 1, 2012

Empty Bowls aims to fill bellies

Annual dinner raises money for Interfaith Food Shelf


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Richelle Soper’s hands were busy for Empty Bowls, an international grassroots effort to fight hunger.

Saturday’s dinner in the Algonquin Dining Hall features soup, salad, bread, a beverage and dessert catered by Chartwells. 

The best part is that attendees get to leave with the handmade bowl of their choice.

Soper’s 30 bowls are among the 400 that advanced-ceramics students have made this year at SUNY Plattsburgh.

“I think it’s a wonderful cause and event,” said Soper, a senior majoring in art. “Throughout the semester, I made a few here or there whenever I had spare time.”

This is the third year she’s participated in the fundraiser; it’s the first for Emily Wells.

“I have been to a couple of them helping out a bit,” said Wells, a junior majoring in art.

“There’s a real sense of community, all of us working together and eating together. It’s a really great event to go to.”

John and Jackie Sabourin donated clay to enable students at Arthur P. Momot Elementary School to also make bowls.

Ali Della Bitta was awaiting the arrival of the elementary-school students’ bowls in the ceramics studio at the college.

“I made the bowls part of their assignment to refine their skills as functional ceramicists,” said Della Bitta, a professor of art. “Last year, my advanced students did the same thing, so we have 40 students participating. Last year, we ran out of bowls. I tried to prepare a lot earlier this year.”

Proceeds from the event benefit the Interfaith Food Shelf in Plattsburgh. Approximately $3,000 was raised last year.

Soper and Sierra Rasco, also a senior, were challenged to create soup tureens to raffle off at Saturday’s event.

Rasco worked at the wheel on a bowl while her tureens were fired in the kiln.

“As a project, I’ve never thrown that big as well as fit those lids; they were difficult as well,” Rasco said.

Email Robin Caudell:

IF YOU GO WHAT: Empty Bowls. WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday. WHERE: Algonquin Dining Hall, Rugar Street, SUNY Plattsburgh. ADMISSION: $10 general admission, and $8 for students.