MILLBURN, NJ - For the tenth year in a row, Millburn Middle School Students were running on empty.
Empty Bowls that is.
The annual charity event celebrated its tenth anniversary yesterday evening. The fundraiser involves the purchase of a bowl formed and glazed by students at the middle school. After paying for the bowl, attendees received soup and bread to eat, as well as a small dessert.
This year, the soups, provided for the fundraiser by the local Whole Foods, were chicken noodle, minestrone and cheddar broccoli. At the conclusion of the event, attendees were able to take the bowls they selected home with them. Each year, the fundraiser will pull in about $4,000 dollars.
Claudia Sohr and Suzie Michaels are the two main chairs of the event. For Sohr, an art teacher at the middle school who also works as a peer leader advisor, Empty Bowls is a chance to see just how far her students have come in their charitable efforts.
"We had worked all year for this and ten years prior in making bowls [and] organizing the community," Sohr said. "It really has been a milestone for us to come to this part. It's the biggest fundraiser we do at the middle school and it's for the community...I believe people walk away with a good, solid feeling of giving back to the community."
Sohr said that the process of the fundraiser starts back in September when the bowls are first made. Throughout the year, students plan and organize to get ready. She also explained that the money collected for the event will go to two charities; the community food bank and an organization called Down the Block a local organization that, according to its website, "provide[s] short-term assistance to households within the Township of Millburn, New Jersey facing unexpected financial setbacks."
Sohr said that as one of the peer leader advisors in the school, it was exciting for her to see her students take the lead in battling this issue.
'We are teaching them how to give back to others through their own efforts," she added. "And seeing it happen here, and working hard...doing the service work, it's a creative way of pulling it together in the arts as well as community service. We team up with other groups of students and it really comes together in the end."
One of the people in attendance was Millburn Middle School Principal John Connolly
It's amazing that our students and our advisors in the program over the last ten years have continued to value this as something really important that we should offer our students as part of our curricular program. So to me, that's just the amazing part, that we are holding true to everything that's important in life."
Connolly added, "And it really starts with giving back to your community, both locally and on a greater scale."
Connolly also said that he was also excited to have had the community out to show the students and peer leaders just how valued their work is.