Assignment: Education - Empty Bowls

An Onalaska High School Fundraiser Helps Feed the Hungry

ONALASKA, Wis. -- Students at Onalaska High School are making bowls so the hungry in our community can have something to eat.

"It's an event where people make bowls, hand-made bowls, and we sell them," said Angie Hendrickson, Onalaska High School art teacher. "We sell them empty and it's a reminder to people that there are hungry people... empty bowls... all around the world."

The money raised from the sale of these bowls goes to the school district's food pantries and the Onalaska-Holmen Emergency Food Basket. The president of the food basket says there is a great need for donations. In just the first two weeks of November, they've already taken on 25 new families which is why the efforts of these students is so appreciated.

"They probably don't realize they have fellow classmates, students and people in the area, that need," said Mike Paoli, Onalaska-Holmen Area Emergency Food Basket board president. "They see it on TV and see it's only in big cities, but it's right here; right next to them."


To help feed our neighbors and friends, students in Onalaska High School's ceramics class and Art Club started coiling, pinching and throwing bowls back in September with hopes of having 200 pieces ready for the Empty Bowls event in December.

"I'm making a slab pot," said Connor Every, Onalaska High School sophomore. "And then I'm going to layer it over this container and let it dry and flip it over."

Conner is working on his 13th bowl and says he's enjoying turning his passion into public service.

"I think we all just feel so proud and committed to be working towards the fight of world hunger," said Every, "and I think what better way to do it then with something we all love."

Once the bowls are created, community members will be invited into the high school cafeteria to purchase an empty bowl and enjoy a little soup donated by area restaurants.

"With the purchase of a bowl, then you get a soup dinner," said Hendrickson. "So, if you come and you buy five bowls you get a dinner. If you come with a family of five and you buy two bowls you all get a dinner."

So when you leave this cafeteria with a full stomach you also leave with an empty bowl created by an art student as a reminder that hunger is everywhere and can effect anyone.

"The need has not only gone up for single mothers and older people, but a lot more middle-aged people in their 40s and 50s are having a tough time right now with the economy the way it is," said Paoli.

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