Wittenberg University’s Art Department hosted its first Empty Bowls event in 1994. Kate (Duman) Runyon, a ceramics major, took the initiative to get the project started. The event has grown from approximately 100 to 1000 bowls a year since then. All of the bowls are made by Wittenberg University students, staff, faculty, and area potters. The food is donated by local distributors and prepared by Sodexo, the Wittenberg dining service. Art students also design and sell Wittenberg Empty Bowls t-shirts, which add to the earned income for the event. A committee organized by Catholic Social Services solicits sponsorships from area businesses and citizens.

The Second Harvest Food bank in Springfield, a program run by Catholic Charities, receives 100% of the funds raised. In 2011, the event raised $36, 200 for Second Harvest. Since 1994, Wittenberg Empty Bowls has earned over $191,470 for the Second Harvest Food bank.

Wittenberg’s Empty Bowls challenges students to look for opportunities to help create social capital through their artwork. The event draws a wide cross-section of patrons from the Springfield Community as well people from outside of Springfield.

Edited by Megan Conkle '14
Footage by Megan Conkle '14 and Erin Pence '04

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