On Thursday, November 13th 2014, Laconia Middle School NH-JAG students hosted ‘The Empty Bowls Fundraiser Dinner’ to raise money for a local food pantry.
Over 100 teachers, students, families and community members attended the fundraiser. Attendees donated a suggested amount of about $10 for a hand-made ceramic bowl. A popular local restaurant, Tavern 27, contributed lobster corn chowder and vegetable chili to serve for dinner.
Laconia Middle School NH-JAG students began making bowls in a summer program offered by NH-JAG. NH-JAG occupies the former Integrated Arts classroom, which is equipped with leftover art supplies, including clay, glazes and a functioning kiln. In the first months of school, students built bowls in their NH-JAG class, however most of the work was done on their own time. Students with experience in clay work taught students from other classes, and encouraged students to participate in community service. “We asked our former teachers to bring a class to our room so that we could teach them how to build glaze bowls. We wanted to share the great resource of art supplies that we have, but also try to get some of our classmates to be excited about community service by doing a fun art project” said 8th grade student, Jordin Poire. “It also helped get more people to make reservations to attend the dinner, since they wanted to purchase the bowl that they had made.” Students spent over 5 months and many hours building bowls for the dinner.
The final result was a donation to St. Vincent’s de Paul food pantry, a local pantry used by many families from our school. The money arrived to the pantry just before the rush of Thanksgiving.
Many families in Laconia rely on the food pantry for not only for the holidays, but to get by. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, over 100 people lined up at the food pantry to receive the supplies to make a Thanksgiving meal for their family. 8th grader Ashley Olisky has friends that benefitted from the donation “People got more food than expected at St. Vincent’s this year, which is great considering how stressful it is to plan for a holiday when money is tight. I think we helped a lot of families have a good Thanksgiving in Laconia”.
This fundraiser has existed at Laconia Middle School for 7 years now, and was adopted by NH-JAG last year. Historically, this event yields about $300 each year to donate to various food pantries. Last year, under NH-JAG student leadership, a record was set at $680, only to be broken by this year’s donation of $1003. NH-JAG students are thrilled to help families enjoy a special holiday, and seek ways to help contribute to local organizations the rest of the school year.