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Empty Bowls: the fight to end hunger through art

By PAIGE GLASSER

Danville High School

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.” Often times in response to that human failing, the community will gather its pocketbooks to fill those empty stomachs. This is the message Shelly Stinnett is trying to encourage through her art classes and her Empty Bowls Project about hunger in Boyle County.

Art classes are creating bowls (that will be filled with soup or stew at the event) that can be bought by community members to eat out of. The community members who participate will be able to take home the empty bowls as a reminder of what many people take for granted: three meals a day. Not only does the event voice and create an awareness, it also serves to give back to the community. Stinnett comments, “All the money [from the event] goes back to feed the hungry and in need in Danville.”

Stinnett says, “the project started with an art teacher in Michigan many years ago and myself and Mrs. Green, the art teacher at Bate Middle School, have been doing this for at least three years.” The Empty Bowls Project was presented as a charity event through a cooperation with the forensics team and art club in the past.

Now Shelly Stinnett, the current art teacher at DHS, brings it back with a partnership with Grace Cafe. Grace Cafe is a local restaurant with the primary statement, as stated by their website gracecafeky.org, “a nonprofit, pay-what-you-can community restaurant committed to serving delicious, fresh, locally-sourced, organic-when-possible, highly-nutritious food for everyone in our community regardless of their ability to pay.

In her ceramics class, students are put to work making three different bowls. Sara Barringer, a member of the class and junior at DHS, states, “I think it is a really cool project they are allowing us to do because it’s pretty cool to know your artwork is actually going to something good.” Barringer comments that one of her bowl designs will be a dog, while Cloe Shearer, a junior at DHS, pipes up that she has made two bowls so far: “One that looks like a watermelon, and the other one looks like a bowl of fish.” Shearer adds, “I think it’s cool that we can help feed people just by making something in class.”

The Empty Bowls Project will be held at Grace Cafe, located at 219 S. 4th Street in Danville, KY, on May 4.