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Empty Bowls: Clay Students Use Artistic Skills to Fight Hunger

Did you know that one out of seven residents in Hays County (where San Marcos Academy is located) is food insecure? That amounts to more than 25,000 people in our county who lack reliable access to a sufficient supply of affordable, nutritious food. Members of SMA art instructor Ruth Schwartz’s clay classes are doing their part to help those in our community who are hungry by sponsoring an Empty Bowls project March 2.

Empty Bowls: Fighting to End Hunger

Empty Bowls got its start 25 years ago as a grassroots movement to raise awareness and funds for the fight to end hunger. Individual groups plan their own specific projects, but generally, it involves potters or other artists who create handmade bowls that represent the many empty bowls in the world where people do not have enough to eat. The bowls are sold, usually along with a meal of soup or stew, and the funds are donated to a local food bank, soup kitchen or other hunger relief organization.

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Hannah Salazar works on a bowl at the pottery wheel.

The Academy has sponsored Empty Bowls projects in the past, usually teaming up with a local restaurant. This year, however, the clay class will offer 22 bowls right here on campus, selling them for $10 each during both lunches on March 2. Students who purchase a bowl are welcome to fill it with soup or other items on the Sodexo Food Service menu or just take it with them. Parents and guests are invited to buy a bowl as well and are invited to stay for lunch (dining hall hours, menus and meal prices are posted on their website).

Empty Bowls: Supporting the Hays County Food Bank

Funds raised from the sale of the bowls will be donated to the Hays County Food Bank, which distributes food and administers hunger relief programs throughout our community. Often we think about hunger as a problem that only exists in third-world countries, not in our own backyard. But, the reality is that more than 40,000 people in Hays County live below the poverty line. In San Marcos, just over 71 percent of students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program along with almost half of students in the Hays CISD.

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Taylor Wilbanks unloads one of the kilns in the art room.

How can we help fight hunger in our community? Get involved! The Hays County Food Bank has numerous volunteer opportunities for adults as well as for youth. Visit their website for information on how to become a volunteer or how to donate food or funds.

Another local organization fighting hunger is School Fuel San Marcos. This group packs food sacks for students in the San Marcos ISD who have a high risk of little or no food in their homes. The sacks are sent home in the students’ backpacks on Fridays to provide food for the student over the weekend. One way to help School Fuel is by supporting their “Fill the Sack Run” on March 25.

Thank you to our clay class students and Mrs. Schwartz for using the creative process of art to help others through the Empty Bowls project. We hope to see you on campus March 2 to buy a bowl!

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Cash Spencer starts a new clay class project.

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