Students Make Bowls for Food Pantry Fundraiser

Students from White Marsh Elementary School in Trappe learned about art and community activism by making bowls for the Empty Bowls fundraiser. Under the direction of art teacher Jan Johnson, the students from Debbie Dyott and Carla Hill’s fifth grade classes made and decorated over 30 bowls for the community dinner that will be held on Saturday, February 21 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Easton from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. For $20, diners will get a bowl of soup and take home the handmade bowl in which it is served.

“I was glad I could offer the students a project with social conscience to show them that art can benefit a greater community beyond the artists themselves,” says Johnson. “Everyone had great enthusiasm for the work we did together.”

Having art students involved in the Talbot County Empty Bowls event mirrors the first Empty Bowls fundraiser, which was the brainchild of John Hartom, a North Carolina high school art teacher. In 1990, Hartom challenged his art students to make enough ceramic bowls to host a meal for the school faculty. During the meal, Hartom and his wife, Lisa Blackburn, also an art educator, reminded the group that, even though they were not hungry because they had just eaten, many in the community still had empty bowls. The guests were invited to keep their soup bowls as a reminder of those less fortunate. This event evolved into the non-profit organization Empty Bowls, which now raises millions of dollars for hunger-related causes around the world.

Local professional potters have pledged bowls for the second annual Talbot County Empty Bowls fundraiser. Friends of Evergreen Cove Holistic Learning Center, children from Trinity Cathedral’s Sunday school class and other members of the community added to the dinner bowls by going to Clay Bakers in Easton.  There they painted colorful bowls that will be donated to the cause.

The organizers of the community meal now have 150 bowls to fill with homemade soup. The meal includes bread donated by Panera Bread and home baked desserts.  All money raised on February 21 will be given to Talbot County food pantries, all of which are seeing an increase in need for their services.

Advance reservations for the Talbot County Empty Bowls community meal are required. To purchase tickets, mail a check for $20 per person to the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, 102 E. Dover Street, Easton, MD 21601. Make checks payable to Mid-Shore/Empty Bowls. Please include your phone number. Tickets can be purchased and donations can be made online at