Empty Bowls Event photo
The 2021 Empty Bowls event handed out 120 hand-painted bowls and raised a total of $1,504 for the Indiana Poor People’s Campaign.
Photo by Kaleigh Gabriel

MU Organizations Hold 4th Annual Empty Bowls Event

Kaleigh Gabriel

Manchester University’s Campus Interfaith Board (CIB) Hosted the Empty Bowls Charity Event in partnership with MU Student Involvement, Manchester Dining, and Bisque It Pottery Painting this past weekend, collecting donations for the Poor People’s Campaign Indiana.

Saturday, April 17, was the perfect, chilly, spring day for a bowl of soup! Students and staff gathered on the Mall, in front of the Petersime Chapel, to enjoy a celebration of giving and warmth. Along with the beautifully hand-painted bowls of soup, lightly steaming in the chilly air, event-goers enjoyed the ambient music from the AAFRO 50th Commemoration Concert on the Steps of the Funderburg Library and lively conversation with friends while spread out at tables across the Mall.

Event-goers were first greeted by Campus Interfaith Board President, senior Kate Barrow. Barrow not only provided a warm and welcoming face to guests, she also received donations, talked with guests about the history of the Empty Bowls event and this year’s purpose in working with Poor People’s Campaign while they picked out their bowl.

The bowls were painted by students earlier in the year during an earlier CIB event, in preparation for the yearly event, at Bisque It Pottery Painting in Fort Wayne. One hundred and fifty bowls were carefully painted by students and put on display for event-goers to choose among.

After their donations were collected and event-goers chose their bowl, next stop was the soup.

Pastor Rebekah Houff, director of the event, and Vice President of Student Affairs, Abby Van Vlerah, manned the soup station, rinsing the bowls and filling them with deliciously warm soup. Guests of all dietary requirements were considered, as they could choose between hearty, traditional chicken noodle and another gluten-free, vegan option.

Event-goers could then find a seat at one of the many, socially-distanced tables on the Mall to enjoy their soup, conversation with other event-goers, and the on-going AAFRO concert.

CIB and its partnered organizations decided on a fundraiser with Poor People’s Campaign this year in response to what is going on in the country and the world at present. Not only does Poor People’s Campaign give to the impoverished and financially challenged, the organization is also deeply rooted in social justice issues surrounding racism and gender inequality.

“Given the past year’s events, with the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in increased poverty and social justice reform bringing racism and gender inequalities to the forefront, it was only fitting that we partnered with Poor People’s Campaign, which is dedicated to all of these injustices,” Barrow said.

In total, the Empty Bowls event to raise proceeds for Poor People's Campaign raised $1,504 and a total of 120 hand-painted bowls were handed out.

“This is the most that we’ve raised since we brought back the Empty Bowls event in 2017," Houff said.