‘Empty Bowls’ raises money for homeless

empty bowl2

By: Michelle Chance

On Oct. 29, hundreds of handmade ceramic bowls were sold to students, staff, and community members at the MCC Southern and Dobson campus to raise money for the Paz de Cristo outreach Center.

According to Linda Speranza, organizer for the event and art faculty member at MCC, Empty Bowls is a nationwide event that raises money for the homeless and needy.

100 percent of the proceeds are donated to benefit the hungry, according to Speranza.

“We don’t have a goal, we just try to do our best and most of the time we raise around $17,000 to $19,000,” Speranza said.

Everything to run the event was also donated by members of the community, right down to the clay that was formed to make the bowls sold at the event.

Speranza said that MCC art students were the main contributors who donated their bowls to help feed the hungry at the event, but many others from around the community also crafted bowls, which were each sold for a $10 donation.

“Empty Bowls has been going on here since 1992, and we do it with the support of the Mesa Arts Center, Dobson High, and three or four of the local senior communities who also bring in bowls,” Speranza said.

During the event, soup and bread rolls were served to customers who bought bowls.

“Pita Jungle, TC Eggington’s, and Red, White and Brew, donated the soup for the event, Alpine bread donated the rolls, the clay is donated by Marjon ceramics, and the Arizona Republic provides free ads for us,” Speranza said.

According to Speranza, students who make bowls for the event learn community awareness.

“25 percent of the nation’s children live in poverty or below the poverty line and this is to promote awareness of that and to help them realize that we’re all connected and that we can all help, even in little ways,” Speranza said.

Christine Oliviero, business manager for Paz de Cristo said that proceeds donated by Empty Bowls is mostly used for dinner services, but it also goes toward other efforts in which the outreach center helps the less fortunate.

“We use it for all categories. So Paz does meals every night, we do food boxes, we do showers, we have a new jobs program, and we do clothing,” Oliviero said.

Oliviero said Paz de Cristo did not have an expectation or goal amount for proceeds raised during the event.

“We are happy with anything that is raised because we are just hoping for whatever we get and we are very thankful for it,” Oliviero said.

Tiffany Strohm, Criminal Justice major at MCC bought two bowls at the event.

“I am going to buy them because they are really pretty and I wanted to support the cause,” Strohm said. “I like art and I like how they are getting together to be creative and help homeless people.”


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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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