One of the tables of bowls that were available for purchase at the Empty Bowls event on Nov. 15, 2023. (Photo by Kat Carlson)

Mesa Community College holds annual Empty Bowls event

Mesa Community College held its annual Empty Bowls event in honor of World Hunger Day on Nov. 15 from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Kirk Student Center.

The event included hundreds of handmade ceramic bowls for $10 each, a meal of soup and bread provided by sponsor Pita Jungle, and a silent auction of other ceramic pieces created by art students around the valley.

MCC was also collecting donations of canned and non-perishable food items and hygienic supplies to go toward the Mesa Market, which serves students in need on campus.

MCC partnered with the Paz De Cristo Community Center again this year, and all proceeds from the event went towards funding for the community center to aid homeless people in the area.

“We do dinner every night. People come in and they find out that we have other services like showers on Wednesdays and ID vouchers on Tuesdays and clothing vouchers for Deseret Industries on Thursdays,” said Farley.

Paz De Cristo provides aid to those struggling with hunger, poverty, and homelessness. The center supplies more than 50,000 meals a month and provides additional services to help people get back on their feet.

“All the proceeds go to Paz De Cristo for all our programs,” said John Farley, director of food services for Paz De Cristo. “I believe it’s 85 cents of every dollar goes into programs.”

Among those volunteering at the event was Vicente Ortiz, an MCC alumnus and Paz De Cristo’s food services and programs coordinator. He got involved with Paz De Cristo through his time as a student at MCC.

“I heard about an internship program that was going to happen at Paz De Cristo regarding grant writing. So I was interested, turns out I ended up just accepting a full-time position there. That’s kind of how I started Paz De Cristo,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz began his career at Paz De Cristo as their empowerment coordinator and has since moved into his current position with food services.

Every year, new bowls are created and added to the collection for the annual event. 

This year, donations were made from art students at Desert Ridge High School, Dobson High School and the Mesa Art Center.

According to Farley, Paz De Cristo was aiming to make approximately $3,000 from purchases of the bowls to put toward their services, but the center is grateful for any and all donations made.

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