Empty Bowls hosts 10th annual charity event at MCC

Charles Classen

Mesa Community College will be hosting the 10th annual Empty Bowl charity event, in recognition of World Hunger Day, on Oct. 20 and 27. Over 3,000 handmade ceramic bowls will be available to purchase for $10 each, which includes a simple meal of bread and soup.

Proceeds directly benefit Paz de Cristo, a non-profit organization serving the needy and homeless in Mesa.

The meager meal is provided to design a reminder of how many people survive on diets supplying little to no nutrition.

Bowls are to be kept as a representation of the empty bowls of the needy and homeless across the nation. They act as a reminder of the community initiative to end hunger and promote charitable giving.

A silent auction of the more exquisite pieces will also be held to help raise as much money as possible. In addition, live music courtesy of Desert Gumbo is scheduled on Oct. 20 from 6-8 p.m.

The Empty Bowl is a national project, conceived by two art instructors in Michigan, designed to increase public awareness of hunger and food insecurity and provide aid to those in need in America and abroad.

Events are conceived at the community level, with each organization’s event being fully self-developed and independent, utilizing local artists and art institutions.

“This is an important outreach program for the community. It helps develop community relationships while creating consciousness and awareness about the hungry and homeless in Mesa,” said faculty sponsor Linda Speranza, a ceramics instructor at MCC.

The annual event is the major fundraiser for Paz de Cristo, having raised approximately $16,000 last year. Each dollar raised translates to $5 to $7 worth of food for individuals and families in the community that might otherwise go hungry.

“This event pretty much allows us to do what we do,” said Christine Oliviero, business manager and volunteer coordinator at Paz de Cristo. “This is the largest fundraiser of the year for us. It’s an amazing event and we’re very appreciative of those involved.”

All materials and labor to sponsor the event have been charitably donated, allowing all proceeds to go directly to Paz de Cristo.

Clay to produce the pieces was donated by Marjon Ceramics of Phoenix, while Alpine Valley Bakery, Pita Jungle and T.C. Eggington’s will donate soup and bread.

The Mesa Empty Bowl event is the combined effort of MCC art faculty and the Mesa Arts Center, with students and staff at both locations donating their time to create these one-of-a-kind pieces of art.

MCC in part with Mesa Art Center allowed the use of their facilities to artists and students to produce the bowls. In conjunction with World Hunger Day on Oct. 16, similar events are being held throughout the Phoenix area.

Those interested in further volunteer opportunities can contact Oliviero, the volunteer coordinator for Paz de Cristo, directly by phone at 480-464-2370, or by e-mail at pazchristineo@qwestoffice.net. In addition to this event, the local food bank and charity holds evening-meal services; volunteers are also needed for boxing food and care packages.

This can satisfy service-learning requirements, or just afford the opportunity to actively contribute to an important charity in our community.

Food and tax-deductible monetary donations are always gratefully accepted by this non-profit organization.

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