2005-11-03 / Front Page

You can help fill an empty bowl Friday at the Melrose school

By Donna K. Drago

Students in grade 7-3 show off the handmade bowls that they have been working on for the Empty Bowls event this Friday night. Photo by Donna Drago Students in grade 7-3 show off the handmade bowls that they have been working on for the Empty Bowls event this Friday night. Photo by Donna Drago World hunger is the reason that children, parents and teachers have been working for months on a joint project scheduled to culminate with an event this Friday evening.

The Empty Bowls project is a nationally-recognized series of meals held in locations around the country to help bring attention to the problem of world hunger. This Friday, Nov. 4, from 4:30 to 8 p.m., the event will come to Jamestown at the Melrose Avenue School for the first time.

Those attending the empty bowls dinner Friday evening will receive a handmade ceramic bowl filled with soup, a napkin and an antique spoon. Those attending the empty bowls dinner Friday evening will receive a handmade ceramic bowl filled with soup, a napkin and an antique spoon. The idea of Empty Bowls is to offer participants a handmade ceramic bowl, in which they will get a hearty meal of soup and bread.

The Jamestown event takes the premise a step further.

Organizer Julia Montminy, a parent of three children in the Jamestown schools, said that the Jamestown Empty Bowls event will give participants their choice of handmade bowls, hand-sewn cloth napkins, and a vintage soup spoon, with which they can sit down and enjoy a meal of either soup or macaroni and cheese.

The menu will offer minestrone, chicken noodle, corn chowder, and vegetarian leek and bean soup or “mac and cheese” to fill the bowls, and local companies have also donated breads, dessert,s and beverages to round out the meal, Montminy said.

The 400 bowls have been in production since last April by students in the afterschool ceramics program run by Montminy as well as parents Liz Perez and Trish Van Cleef. The Lawn Avenue School students in grades 6, 7 and 8 also got into the act by each making a bowl during art classes. Teachers and parents have also made some of the bowls.

It’s usually professional ceramists who contribute the bowls for Empty Bowls dinners. The Jamestown event is the first time she is aware that children are responsible for making the majority of the bowls, Montminy noted.

First-grade students are also participating by making silkscreened T-shirts to commemorate the event, she pointed out.

The new kiln at the Lawn Avenue School has made possible the production of the 400 bowls, Montminy said, noting that the bulk of the $1,800 for the kiln was donated by Maureen Dunn Packer of Ali’s Challenge.

Napkins were made by the after-school sewing class and the soups and macaroni will be made by the after-school cooking program, Montminy said.

“This is such a wonderful event because it combines art with community service and awareness of world hunger,” she noted.

The event will cost $15 per person, regardless of age, and “100 percent of proceeds” will go to area food banks, according to Montminy.

People both affiliated and not affiliated with the schools are encouraged to attend, she said.

The local food banks are “seriously depleted” right now due to contributions to the victims of the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes, Montminy pointed out. With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, “this is a perfect time” to have the Empty Bowls events, she said.

Donations will go to the Jamestown Food Pantry, the North Kingstown Food Bank, and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, Montminy said.

If all 400 bowls are sold, the donated amount will be $7,000, she noted.

The Empty Bowls project was started in 1990 by a high school art teacher in Michigan. Learn more about the organization at www.emptybowls.org.

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