Annual Empty Bowls drive provides meals for local pantry
Empty Bowls’ second annual food drive is accepting donations for the Centre Street Food Pantry, an organization that provides families and individuals in the area with groceries. The food drive began on Oct. 25 and will continue accepting donations until Dec. 2. Students, staff, and Village residents can donate to the food drive boxes in Valentine Dining Hall and the Lasell Village Town Hall.
Junior Maddie Leung, Vice President of Empty Bowls, says the food pantry is accepting a variety of food donations and household items such as toothpaste. “The biggest items they need are breakfast cereal, granola bars, mac and cheese, jam, tuna, and any other canned goods,” said Leung.
Empty Bowls Advisor and Associate Professor of Art Deborah Baldizar says though the food drive began in 2020, the club has collaborated with the Centre Street Food Pantry for seven years for the Empty Bowls fundraising dinner. “The food drive started because of the year of COVID,” said Baldizar. “We could not have the event because the event is 300 handmade ceramic bowls, soup, bread, and live music. People come and make a donation to the food pantry…We couldn’t do it, so the students said, ‘we have to do something.’”
While the Empty Bowls spring fundraiser is happening in March, the club continues the food drive to increase donations made to the food pantry. President of Empty Bowls and senior psychology major Beverly Banks says the Centre Street Food Pantry allows students to support the community. “[Centre Street Food Pantry’s] mission is to help all of the residents in the surrounding communities… to just make sure that they have access to food and support, especially around holidays, but year round too.”
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) donated over 600 items to the food drive in a competition to see which team could bring the most amount of donations. Leung says the collaboration between the student-athletes and Empty Bowls allowed the clubs to come together to support the community. “That was really exciting,” said Leung. “It really brought everyone together and everyone was, you know, determined to get the most cans for their team.”
SAAC President and senior Michael Palumbo participated in the food drive with the men’s soccer team last year. “Last year, my team, the men’s soccer team, donated [to] Empty Bowls by all pitching in money and Empty bowls E-Board: Empty Bowls E-Board pose with food drive donations. items,” said Palumbo. “This year it was a group effort from all sports teams, and it worked out really well.”
Village residents have been supportive of Empty Bowls as well, says Banks. “I feel like between the village and the athletes, that’s the majority of our donations so far for sure.”
Aaliyha Williams, senior and Treasurer of Empty Bowls became involved with the club her freshman year. Williams likes that the club allows her to help the community. “I kind of take pride in being able to help people around me,” said Williams. “I wanted to get involved more within the Newton community…I also enjoy making the bowls here.”
Students do not have to have experience in ceramics to join Empty Bowls and can attend club meetings on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. in Yamawaki. “Students can help make the bowls or join one of our sort of offshoot committees…We always need help advertising, we need help going around to local businesses and asking for donations for our silent auction,” says Baldizar. “We would love to have help from anybody that is civically minded and wants to help the community.