SCARBOROUGH — Empty bowls can mean full plates for many who would otherwise go hungry.

The Empty Bowls Project, out of North Carolina, is a national effort to combat hunger by encouraging participants to create ceramic bowls and sell them along with a simple meal of soup and bread. All proceeds are then donated to any local or national organization that is committed to fighting hunger.

“Guests choose a bowl to use that day and to keep as a reminder that there are always Empty Bowls in the world,” according to information on the organization’s Web site.

The Scarborough High School Art Club has sponsored Empty Bowls events for about five years, art teacher and club adviser Joanne Allen said. Though they served soup the first couple of years, students discovered that ice cream was a bigger draw this time of year, so now they offer their patrons ice cream sundaes.

About 25 students are active in the club, a good way for those who don’t have room for an art class in their schedules to pursue art.

“We do everything,” club member Kelsey Gressani said. “We did tie-dye shirts that we’ll wear when we sell the bowls.”

And they’ve certainly made a lot of bowls – about 50 of them.

Using several different techniques to fashion the bowls, students then put a personal stamp on their creations by using imaginative painting and glazing methods.

All money raised by the sale of the bowls and ice cream will be donated to the Preble Street Resource Center in Portland.

According to its Web site, Preble Street was established in 1977 by a University of Southern Maine professor who wanted to give social work students hands-on experience in dealing with the Portland area’s homeless and low-income populations.

Though the center provides many different kinds of assistance, its kitchens, along with those of its partners, Wayside Soup Kitchen and St. Luke’s Soup Kitchen, serve 330,000 meals every year – the largest food service program in northern New England. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to prepare and serve the meals and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of food is needed to keep the program running to capacity.

The students’ bowls and ice cream sundaes will be sold on Tuesday, May 19, in the high school cafeteria. Planned to coincide with the Scarborough High School band concert, the event will last from 6-9:30 p.m., allowing concert-goers to buy their refreshments before or after the performance.

“If people don’t want to buy these bowls, they can get ice cream in a paper bowl,” club President Julia Shinay said.

The price for most of the handmade bowls filled with ice cream is $10; some larger bowls will be priced slightly higher. For ice cream without the special bowls, the price is $8.

Beal’s has donated all the ice cream, Allen said. Other community businesses and individuals have donated items to be included in gift baskets that will be raffled off to raise additional money for Preble Street. The raffle will also feature a silver necklace and earrings made by high school social worker Florence Lusk.

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or [email protected].

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s-scaremptybowls-051509.JPGScarborough High School students Kelsey Gressani and Julia Shinay fill a display case with some of the handmade ceramic bowls crafted by the school’s Art Club members. The bowls will be sold with ice cream sundaes as part of the Empty Bowls Project and all proceeds will be donated to the Preble Street Resource Center in Portland. (Roberts photo)
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