Students mold empty bowls to fill stomachs
By Kathy Chaffin
Students at North Hills Christian School are making bowls to help feed the hungry.
“I feel that everybody needs food and a home,” fourth-grader Liam Harrell said as he shaped his bowl from clay Tuesday afternoon.
Katie Hunsucker was also thinking about the people her bowl would benefit. “I think it’s real sad that they don’t have anything to eat,” she said.
The Empty Bowls service project started in a Michigan art class in 1990 and is now being done in communities across the world. As part of the North Hills project, people who turn out for a Feb. 20 fundraiser will be able to enjoy a soup and bread meal in the gym and choose a bowl made by the school’s 266 students to take home in exchange for a suggested $10 donation to Rowan Helping Ministries.
Elementary art teacher Becky Burgin said potters in the community such as Brent Smith and Cheryl Goins will also be donating bowls for the project. Burgin said people who can’t afford the $10 are still welcome to come enjoy the soup and bread and give whatever they can.
“We don’t want anybody to not come because of money,” she said.
Fourth graders working on their bowls Tuesday afternoon used paper bowls to shape their creations. Jordan Plummer was very precise in cutting the extra clay from the edge of her bowl.
For students who ended up with ragged edges, Burgin showed them how to use a snake-shaped piece of clay to smooth it out.
Once they were satisfied with the basic form of their bowls, students personalized them with designs, handles and feet. Adam Reeder used the flat side of a wooden popsicle stick to imprint a design on his bowl.
Dakota Roseman made a completely different design with the narrow side of a popsicle stick, and Felicity Hatley used a stamp with a design imprint.
Burgin said several students plan to identify their bowls for their parents so they can take them home.
All of the students seemed to be enjoying the project. Collin Lewis said he really liked working with clay.
Marissa Baker got a little carried away making her snake-shaped piece of clay for the edge of her bowl and used her hands to slither it over to visit her friend, Elizabeth McConnell, before flattening it out.
Elizabeth said Marissa named it Henry. In fact, “she names everything Henry,” Elizabeth said, including the elf she was in the process of creating.
Emilee Stohl said she was shaping her bowl to look like a face with hair on the outside and eyes, nose and a mouth protruding from the bottom of the inside.
Dillon Hines was shaping his bowl to look like a wrestling ring, and Michaelyn Smith added a heart to the bottom of her bowl for all the people who eat in the soup kitchen at Rowan Helping Ministries, which also includes an overnight shelter and offers food, clothing and financial assistance to people in need.
A few of the students started painting their bowls Tuesday, but the class ended before most could even start.
“Just because you have a lot of colors doesn’t mean you have to use them all,” Burgin said. “Two or three work better than nine or 10.”
Christopher “Chris” Parrish said he plans to paint his bowl red and Carolina blue. “The reason I want to paint it blue is so I don’t get my dad mad,” he said. “He thinks we’re (including his mother and sister) too hypnotized by N.C. State.”
Even though his parents pull for rival teams, Chris said they both went to Campbell University. His uncle, Maj. Eugene Fine, however, did attend State.
Abbey Birkhead also plans to paint her bowl blue, but that was her second choice. There’s not any purple paint, she explained.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249.