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  • Writer's pictureMICHAEL CURRAN

Food for thought: What goes into an Empty Bowls event

The members of Empty Bowls before their event. Photo courtesy of Beverly Banks

Empty Bowls raises funds and creates bowls for the Centre Street Food Pantry, which provides resources for those facing food insecurity. It has been operating for six years and has only grown in size. With the growth of the club comes bigger and better events during the year. Led by Advisor and Professor Deborah Baldizar along with club President Beverly Banks, senior psychology major and Vice President Maddie Leung, junior communications major, says the planning for the next school year is well underway.

Baldizar says, “They're organized, they have a Google Drive starting in April of the year before they start doing things for the next year. So I am there to just kind of go over it with them and answer any questions, proofread, just another set of eyes, another resource.” Leung and Banks add, “That’s the main thing [staying organized], keeping people informed about what we do and making the bowls on time, we have a timeline that we follow.”

As part of the executive team both Banks and Leung make sure everything's going smoothly and assign roles for members.

“So as people come in, especially if they're new, and don't know how everything works yet, I'll just welcome them in, introduce myself and try to make them feel welcomed into the club and explain to them what we do,” Banks states.

Club members made 350 bowls this year to raise money for Central Street Food Bank. Photo courtesy of Beverly Banks

For the club to work and be successful, they want a team of people who are passionate. The executive team Banks and Leung learns everyone's individual qualities that work well so they can start to match their strengths to work together as a team. Baldizar also adds on working together “Having check-ins and asking ‘What do you need help with? How can I help? Or do I need help with this?’ is important. Also, having moments of celebration too because it's hard work.”

Isabelle Conway, sophomore elementary education major is the secretary of Empty Bowls says “I attend weekly meetings to create bowls and plan the event. As the secretary, my major role is communicating with local businesses for donations. I love being a part of the club because I heavily believe in its mission to fight hunger through art. Filling the empty bowls in our community helps so many families and connects us all.”

On the logistics side, the 20 Empty Bowls members make 20 bowls each meeting, adding up to 350 bowls for the year, making them and glazing them. After that they start reaching out to the local community, clubs on campus, community members, sports teams and always with Lasell Village.

“As the president, something that I would do is follow up with different people who would speak at the event like special guests, so inviting the President of Lasell, Michael Alexander and the Mayor of Newton, important people like that,” Banks says.

Also, “Reaching out to local businesses for donations for our raffle, making sure that people are keeping up with reaching out to people that we're talking to and getting artists' pieces to show at the event” Leung says, at Empty Bowls everyone's role is important.

There is also live entertainment. “We usually have our alumni Robby Rowe, come back and he has performed for three years now and we rely on him for the event. This year, we wanted a second act so we reached out to people in the school and advertised we got Paige Mesropian and Ken Calhoun to do the guitar. Planning that was really fun” Leung says.

Baldizar adds “It's a good integration of the event plus artists and musical artists coming together and coming together for a good cause.”

Banks adds “We really appreciate student involvement and when students show interest in the club, if people can only show up once a week here and there to make a bowl it does make a difference. We've seen it a few times and it doesn't go unnoticed. Keeping awareness of the club on campus is really important.”

Empty Bowls will have a table at symposium where students can buy the bowls and donate to the cause. Also at Lasell Village, students will bring the bowls to the village for the dinner hour.


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