Empty Bowls Dinner raises $7,500 for Hunger & Health Coalition
by Jeff Eason
People who arrived after the last bowl was sold were able to purchase a ticket for $5 and enjoy homemade soup in a paper bowl, bread from Stick Boy Bakery, a drink and dessert.
"Next year, we will probably make 600 or 700 bowls," said Kauner Michael, one of the student volunteers working at the Empty Bowls Dinner, held in the commons area of Watauga High School.
The final tally raised by the event, including money from a silent auction, will be announced in the near future.
Now in its 13th year, Empty Bowls is a charity event created by WHS students as a service project to help and become more engaged in the community. The dinner consists of a simple meal consisting of soup and bread to remind everyone that some families in the community deal with hunger as a real issue every day.
The majority of the ceramic bowls sold for charity at Empty Bowls were created in Whit Whitaker's WHS ceramics class, with others made in Watauga County School's elementary and middle school art classes.
Others were donated by local artisans, including many from the Michael Patricelli Craft Enrichment Program at Appalachian State University.
Local restaurants and organizations supplying soup at this year's dinner were the WHS ProStart and Advanced Food II classes, Casa Rustica, Pepper's, Stick Boy Kitchen, Woodland's Barbecue and Pickin' Parlor, Troy's 105 Diner, Speckled Trout Caf and F.A.R.M. Caf.
Bare Essentials donated iced tea and filtered water. And members of the Friends of the WHS organization provided homemade desserts.
"The Empty Bowls Dinner is a wonderful example of bringing the community together to create a unique event whose success benefits local families," said Compton Fortuna, director of the Hunger and Health Coalition.
"We are honored to work in a community that generously offers compassion and support to help those in need. We look forward to working with the Watauga High School students on the Empty Bowls Dinner for many years to come."
According to Fortuna, Watauga High School's Empty Bowls Dinners raised $64,200 for the Hunger and Health Coalition in its first 12 years of existence.
She said that amount of money equates to 321,000 pounds of food.
The crowd attending the Empty Bowls Dinner received a special treat when the cast of the WHS spring musical, "The Sound of Music," serenaded everyone with a version of "Edelweiss." The musical will be held at the WHS Auditorium Thursday through Saturday, April 3-5.