Teens raise thousands of dollars for hungry people during Empty Bowls events

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge junior Will Larson is one of the ceramics students making dishes for Empty Bowls.Local students are throwing clay and preparing soup to aid hungry people and give art lovers a thrill.

Lakeridge High School ceramics students are fashioning about 500 bowls for a March 13 Empty Bowls fundraiser for Oregon Food Bank, a nonprofit organization with a network of food pantries.

Lake Oswego Junior High last week held its Empty Bowls, which supported a local church pantry, and Lake Oswego High School ceramics students are creating concave dishware for a ceramicists group’s Empty Bowls fundraiser in July.

The Imagine Render Group held the first Empty Bowls in 1991, and the concept of a community creating and selling handcrafted bowls to help the needy has spread to potters REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge senior Thomas Shearer throws some clay for Empty Bowls.

At the Lakeridge event, attendees can buy most bowls for $5, although larger and more ornate ones cost up to $40. For no added cost, diners may fill their dish of choice with warm soups: taco, avgolemono (Greek lemon chicken), chicken noodle, sausage minestrone or Thai light coconut with lemon grass and jicama.

“It’s fun. A bunch of people come and mingle and eat soup, and you get a really nice bowl for only $5,” said Lakeridge senior Abbey Rooney, who’s been in ceramics for four years.

The fundraising goal is $2,500 this year, $200 more than the event brought in last year, which was $500 more than in 2012.

Lakeridge ceramics teacher Mike Helle said the event is increasingly popular, and people begin queuing up before the doors open.

“It’s become such a tradition — people are literally chomping at the bit,” Helle said.

Georgies Ceramic and Clay Co. is donating 500 pounds of clay, and Albertsons and Palisades Market are contributing ingredients for the meal. by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Abbey Rooney, a 12th-grader at Lakeridge, said she had to take a sculpture class to be able to properly construct a free-hand bowl.

Lakeridge junior Will Larson said he loves the freedom of having more clay to work with and having “a great teacher” who gives his students “creative license to make what we want.”

Lake Oswego Junior High students last week held an Empty Bowls fundraiser during Fine Arts Night, which also featured a host of events including a “Cinderella” play and robotics, computer, art and language presentations as well as choir, band and orchestra REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Teacher Greg Mylet served Barbara Huis seconds at the Lake Oswego Junior High Empty Bowls fundraiser during Fine Arts Night on Feb. 20.

The junior high sold at least 40 $10 bowls, and the approximately $400 in proceeds will go to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church food pantry. Students planted tomatoes, beans and garlic earlier in the year in the school garden, and the ingredients made up a bean soup that was served to attendees. St. Honoré donated bread and New Seasons contributed additional vegetables, Lake Oswego Junior High teacher Greg Mylet said.

“We hope the evening will build community, help those in need and celebrate the fruits of our labor from the school garden,” Mylet said.

Lake Oswego High School’s ceramics-oriented fundraiser will take place in the summer.

“My Ceramics Club students plan to make bowls that we will donate to the Oregon Potters Association for their huge fundraiser for Oregon Food Bank held over the three-day Waterfront Blues Festival in July,” LOHS ceramics teacher Steven Schiefelbein said.

Schiefelbein said he volunteered at the event last year, and it raised more than $25,000.

“A great success,” he said.

How to attend

What: Lakeridge High Empty Bowls

When: 4 to 7 p.m. March 13

Where: Lakeridge High School, 1235 Overlook Drive

For more information, call 503-534-2319 or email teacher Mike Helle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
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