By Ellie Tiemens | Staff Writer
Chances are, if students are standing in a long line, it's for a good reason. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, students stood in a line like this that stretched out the door of the Dining Commons. Why? For a bowl of soup.
Each year, Taylor World Outreach (TWO) hosts Empty Bowls, a chance to raise money for a local organization and teach students about sustainability and community outreach. At this event, students, faculty and staff can purchase a ceramic bowl - handmade by students in the art department - for $5, or a bowl and soup for $7.
The proceeds from Empty Bowls this year went to benefit Shepherd Community Center, a nonprofit organization that works to break the cycle of generational poverty in Indianapolis by providing access to food and education to students who may otherwise not receive it.
"Shepherd, on a weekly basis, will give about 2,400 meals to the kids and neighbors that work in our program center," said Chris Sommers, coordinator of Shepherd's interns and fellowship program. "The goal of Shepherd is to take all of these different things - the social services, the education, health, wellness, and food - in order to help give our neighbors upward stability."
Sommers explained to patrons of the event that Eastern Indianapolis, where Shepherd is located and serves, is located in a food desert. This means that people have little or no access to healthy produce or food.
And once again, this event can be considered a success. This year, all 223 bowls and over 20 soups that were made by professors, staff and Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) students, sold out at 6 p.m., only half an hour after the event began. Some students even began lining up at 4 p.m. to ensure their purchase.
Junior Maddy Koontz works as a co-director of World Outreach along with Junior Mallory Tyree, Senior Molly Fletchall and Junior Madisen Law.
"TWO is such a great organization and how we get the chance to work in the community and out of the community and send people out globally and locally to places," Koontz said. "And I think this is just a way that ties everything we are working towards together. We're benefiting the community by doing outreach but we're also using sustainability as something that is really cool with these bowls. And I think it's just a really cool opportunity for students to see a bigger purpose than just a meal, but to see how it's really helping Shepherd community church."
If there is anything for students to take away from this event, it is the importance of giving back to communities.
"We want to show how sustainability is really important to World Opportunities… but at the same time, giving back to Shepherd Community Church and what an important part that is to our mission as World Opportunities, to give back to our communities and globally," Koontz said.