Piñon Hills students participate in Empty Bowls to help hungry community | RecordCourier.com

Piñon Hills students participate in Empty Bowls to help hungry community

by Rachel Spacek
rspacek@recordcourier.com

Students at Piñon Hills Elementary School are learning about poverty and hunger through participating in an international program called Empty Bowls. Through the program, students have been hand making clay bowls that will eventually be sold with the proceeds going to Carson Valley Food Closet.

The Empty Bowls fundraiser was brought to Douglas County by Camille Howard, a retired ceramic teacher and artist. She has lived in Gardnerville for the last 14 years and had participated in Carson City's Empty Bowls event when she approached friends in Douglas County about starting the fundraiser locally. Interest in the fundraiser began to grow and this year marks its fourth year.

The project brings together community groups and individual potters to make bowls. Members then hold a dinner fundraising event where local restaurants donate soups, salads and pastas and attendees can purchase the handmade bowls. Douglas County Empty Bowls donates its proceeds to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet. Community members are encouraged to purchase bowls that serve as a reminder of those struggling with hunger in the community.

Piñon Hills Principal Jason Reid came across Empty Bowls at a local Farmer's Market and thought it would be a project his students would enjoy.

"One hour a week potters come into the classroom with all of the clay and all of the product and the kids learn how to manipulate and turn this clay into a beautiful end product," said Reid. "We have an art show in December where all the bowls that were made by the kids will be on display. Kids can show their parents their own bowls and paint the bowls. Then they can buy the bowl and the money goes to the Food Closet and their efforts to feed the hungry in the community."

PJ Nasek, a volunteer with Douglas County Empty Bowls works with the students on the project. She said the project teaches students about hunger and gives them the opportunity to do something good with their hands to help others.

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"We started off by telling them what empty bowls is and one of the things I said to one of the kids is 'how would you feel you if you ate a school lunch, went home from school and not eat again until the next school lunch? That's what the food closet does, they make sure people get dinner at home before school lunch the next day,'" Nasek said.

Nasek said for most children their worlds are right in front of them and they are not aware of what issues are facing their communities.

"They read stories about these issues in class, but this makes the connection to what is going on around them," Nasek said.

Piñon Hills will host its art night on Dec. 14 when parents and community members can paint and purchase bowls to donate to Carson Valley Food Closet.