By: Rebecca Osowski – 1851 Staff
The Empty Bowls club held a live event via Zoom to auction off handmade bowls to raise money for the Center Street Food Pantry in Newton on April 15.
While usually an in-person dinner, the Empty Bowls club had to adapt their event due to COVID-19 guidelines. Co-President, senior Madison Griffin said it was important to find a way to hold the event this year as “even more people are facing food insecurity, so there’s more of a reason now than ever to hold an event like this.”
While guests of the event had the ability to bid on handmade bowls, they were also able to make a $25 donation directly to the Center Street Food Pantry which will provide a bag of groceries to a family in need.
As the live auction continued for most of the event, the 93 attendees saw an inside look at the weekly meetings of the Empty Bowls club. Club member first-year Arianah Rivera and senior performer Robby Rowe serenaded the audience with two songs each while Lasell Village residents Ruth Silin and Margery Silver read their own original poems, titled “Empty Bowls” and “It’s Not the End.” Rivera was grateful to share her talents in support of such a great cause. “I’ve had family personally affected by food insecurity, so it meant so much to me that there was a club on campus dedicated to bringing light to such an important issue,” she said.
Professor and Empty Bowls advisor Deborah Baldizar praised the club members who planned the entire event, “the evening went smoothly and I hope people felt really connected,” Baldizar said. Baldizar was also proud of her students for keeping the chat active and was excited the audience was intrigued with the online auction, as attendees were outbidding themselves to guarantee they won a bowl.
Professor Stephanie Athey was a very active bidder throughout the night as she was hoping to secure a bowl for both her niece and nephew. Griffin was tasked with going through the bids and announcing a few winners at the end of the event. She made sure to announce Athey as a winner, “I really wanted to make sure I said her nephew got the bowl he wanted, so that was a favorite part of mine,” she said.
As COVID-19 continues to impact our community, Baldizar continues to be moved by the impact art can have on us and our community. “We’re in this together and we’re individual artists but we’re stronger and we can grow even more if we lean on each other,” Baldizar said.
The club raised $2,300 the day of the event, but later earned more money from bowls sold in other ways throughout the rest of the semester. In total, Griffin said Empty Bowls raised over $2,500.