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Students hold Empty Bowls Project to raise funds for pantry

March 17, 2013

Blackstone-Millville Regional High School National Honor Society member Brenna Hull presents a $1,000 check to Dick Laverdiere, president of the Blackstone-Millville Food Pantry, while NHS co-advisor Mark Campopiano looks on. The donation came from the proceeds of the recent ‘Empty Bowls Project’ dinner sponsored by the organization.

BLACKSTONE — The Blackstone-Millville Chapter of the National Honor Society held its seventh annual “Empty Bowls Project” dinner recently in the high school cafeteria.
The room was set-up to look like a soup kitchen where soup, bread and desserts were served. Each of the 33 NHS members was required to sell tickets to the community, while faculty and staff members from the five schools in Blackstone and Millville bought tickets from designated faculty.
Many donations beyond the sale of tickets were also given toward the event, which was supervised by co-advisors Mark Campopiano and Marianne McLean.
The kitchen at BMR served over 150 patrons in a two-hour span. Lea Wolfgang, a BMR cafeteria staff member, along with others in the kitchen, made the soups and served the patrons that night.
Art teacher Christine Robertson guided the NHS members, along with students from her ceramics class, in creating ceramic bowls that were then raffled off at the dinner.
Under the direction of music teachers Ron Bibeault and Russ Arnold, the school’s chorus and jazz band entertained the patrons.
The National Honor Society donated $1,000 of the proceeds to the Blackstone-Millville Food Pantry. The students donated their time at the pantry each Tuesday and Saturday as part of their community service commitments.
Campopiano and McLean said they and the students were “elated” by the success of the event.
“I’m overwhelmed with the outcome and of the generosity of the two communities along with the staff of the school district,” Campopiano said. “An event like this one brings people together for a great cause. This has become an annual event that the school community looks forward to.”
Local sponsors who donated supplies include ’Ye Old English Fish and Chips, and Park and Shop supermarket.
Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger, personalized by artists and art organizations on a community level. Art teacher John Hartom initiated the project during 1990-91 when he joined a drive to raise charitable funds in his Michigan community. Hartom's idea was to organize a charitable event to give artists and art students a way to make a personal difference.
Hartom's students made ceramic bowls in their high school art classes. The finished products were then used as individual serving pieces for a fundraising meal of soup and bread. Contributing guests kept the empty bowl.
During the next year, Hartom and other participants developed this concept into the Empty Bowls Project. The Imagine/RENDER Group, a non-profit organization, was created to promote the fundraiser.

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