Service program goes hands-on to fight hunger

Instead of the usual community service day, where freshmen go out into the community gleaning local agriculture fields, picking weeds in local parks or working at the food bank, freshmen classes this year took part in an international grassroots effort to fight hunger called Empty Bowls.

According to CHS community service organizer Diana Vita, students have created handcrafted bowls which will be sold during Open House on April 30 at the Soup and Bread Supper, which coincides with the CHS Art Show and performances by the Singer-Songwriters’ Guild, all taking place in the upper quad.

“Guests are invited to a simple meal of soup and bread,” Vita says. “In exchange for a $20 cash donation, guests are asked to keep a bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world.”

Soup will be provided from various local sources, such as Bernardus Lodge, Earthbound Farms, Whole Foods and more.

“It was cool to make the bowls and do arts and crafts for the charities,” freshman Parker Spranza says.

The money raised from the bowl donations, silent auction and 20 percent of the funds from the art show will be donated to the organization Ag Against Hunger, which provides food to food banks and schools throughout the West Coast.

The purpose of the project is to raise student awareness of global hunger issues and local food insecurities through classroom presentations, interactive research and making the bowls. As part of the process, the hope is to raise money for the local organization.

During lunch one day last month, a number of teachers, including Health teacher Jeffery Wright, could be seen getting instruction from Vita about how to make the bowls.

“It was fun to do arts and crafts in class,” freshman Kean Grych says. “It was good to do something that goes toward a good cause.”

Supplies and materials to make the bowls were provided by Carmel Unified School District and Padre Parents.

“It was a very fun experience that is actually doing something to help the community,” freshman Leo Gonzales-Smith says. “The bowl-making was not only good to get out of class, but also, as I said before, to help the community.”

According to EmptyBowls.net, 1 out of 8 Americans struggles with food insecurity every day, and due to the most recent recession, the number of food stamp recipients has increased dramatically.

“It is a great opportunity for kids to get involved,” says freshman Global Studies teacher Jillayne Ange. “It makes them more aware of their community and how there are homeless and hungry people in Monterey County, something that they may not have noticed otherwise.”

-Day Gudmundsson