It is sometimes difficult to wrap one’s head around the fact that one in six people in the area struggle with hunger, and when it comes to children, those numbers climb to 25 percent of the population of people younger than 18.
Eradicating hunger is the task which America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia hopes to tackle. Obviously, part of the organization’s mission is to collect and distribute food to its member agencies, which in turn supply food to those who are hungry. Fundraising, education and awareness are also part of the group’s work.
One of the most popular fundraising projects is the Empty Bowl supper, held annually in October. Presented in conjunction with Glynn Visual Arts on St. Simons Island, preparations for the Empty Bowl event begin months earlier with Handmade for the Hungry — sessions during which people attend pottery sessions to make bowls for the dinner.
Similar to “Empty Bowl” events held in other communities, Handmade for the Hungry invites artists and area residents to make a handcrafted bowl to donate to the cause. Participants are asked to donate $25 to make the bowls, which are then available for purchase at the October event.
When the event began three years ago, the goal was to provide 200 bowls for sale, but when GVA and Second Harvest wanted to grow the event, they extended the invitation to make bowls to community members.
“Glynn Visual Arts holds four to six sessions of Handmade for the Hungry bowl-making events during the summer to supply bowls for the fall (Empty Bowl) event,” said Susan Ryles, executive director of Glynn Visual Arts. “One hundred percent of the monies raised at the … event goes to Second Harvest Food Bank and stays in Glynn County.”
Ryles explained that after the bowls are made and donated, the Empty Bowl fundraiser will allow people to attend, buy a handmade bowl to take home and enjoy a soup dinner and all the “fixins” catered by Straton Hall.
“It’s fun to make the bowls and fun to come to the dinner, and see all the creativity in our community, knowing it’s for a great cause,” Ryles said.
Not only do class participants have the opportunity to help the less fortunate, but they get to experience taking a pottery class from well-known pottery instructor Debbie Craig.
No knowledge of pottery is required, and since the bowls are hand-built rather than made on the wheel, the process is fairly simple and straightforward.
Craig gives thorough instructions at the beginning of each session, and roams the room checking on the potters’ progress and offering encouraging words.
“Don’t forget to play,” she said in a June 12 session at Glynn Visual Arts to the assembled class, many of whom were first-timers.
It’s not too late to get involved, said Kalista Morton, community resource manager for America’s Second Harvest.
Handmade for the Hungry pottery classes will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. July 11 and 18 and Aug. 15 and 22 at Glynn Visual Arts, 106 Island Drive, St. Simons Island. The cost for each class is $25, and reservations must be made by visiting www.helpendhunger.org.
Morton said this year’s Empty Bowl event is scheduled for Oct. 17.
“Last year, the Empty Bowl event raised enough money to provide over 9,000 meals for the hungry in Glynn County,” she said.