Empty Bowls is an annual campus tradition that Taylor World Outreach (TWO) hosted Nov. 1. Through serving soup alongside a table of empty bowls, the event aims to bring awareness to the hunger crisis facing many communities.
This year’s event exceeded the original expected number of participants. People flocked to the event, causing TWO to surpass their monetary goal. TWO raised more money than they had in previous years, raising around $3,200 according to Kiplangat Cheruiyot Bii, director of TWO.
As mentioned by Jen McKim, TWO office manager and coordinator for Community Plunge, The World Opportunities division of TWO partnered with Taylor’s Art Department and local artists to source handmade ceramic bowls, which were sold at the event. People were able to buy both bowls and soup (donated by professors and students) in support of alleviating the world hunger crisis.
All the proceeds from this year’s event went to the Immanuel Africa Gospel Church in Kericho, Kenya.
Senior Orphans and Vulnerable Children major Olivia Otto, student intern for World Opportunities and the organizer of Empty Bowls, emphasized the significance of buying bowls from the event.
“We really like to encourage people to recognize it as a donation towards this church this year,” she said. “And to just learn a little bit more about food insecurity and how much they can help a community halfway across the world, even from here.”
The money raised from Empty Bowls specifically goes to helping those who have empty bowls they cannot fill. This year, the event completely sold out of the 200 bowls that were donated and raised over $3000. According to McKim, Reverend Joyce Tonui of Immanuel Africa Gospel Church needed $3000 to provide everything she wanted in her community.
Even after all the bowls had sold, people continued to donate without expecting a bowl in return.
McKim was blown away by the support they received.
“It was really actually amazing,” McKim said. “Right after the event, when all of our students were counting up the money, and we were trying to see how much we had made. We were just like, ‘oh my word, this is the most we’ve ever made at an Empty Bowls event.’”
Reverend Tonui of Immanuel Africa Gospel Church came to speak at Taylor around the time of Empty Bowls, and McKim said that Tonui was also blown away by the level of support given by the Taylor community.
Bii discussed what goes into choosing an organization to support each year.
“Each year we partner with an organization that is doing something alongside sustainable food production or anything to do with supporting a community in distress or supporting a community that is struggling with food and feeding vulnerable populations,” he said.
Bii said that 100% of the funds raised will go to Immanuel Africa Gospel Church to support them in the hunger crisis they are facing. The church will use the funds to feed those involved in their congregation as well as in the local communities.
It can be difficult for some to understand the struggles of those who are faced with no food in their bowls. However, while someone might not understand, it is important to still have compassion and support those who are suffering in that way.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of gratitude and thankfulness. But there are some things that many do not even think to be thankful for because it can be commonplace, like food in their bowls. There are many people in the world who would see each bowl of soup, each Chick-fil-A sandwich, as a huge blessing.
“That is my hope — that readers can stop, pause, think about the blessings God has given us and then think about other families, whether those families are in the United States or in another country,” Bii said.
There are many things to be thankful for here at Taylor. But it is important not lose sight of those who are not blessed in the same ways. Having compassion for those struggling is important, but so is helping in available ways. Thank you to everyone who supported Empty Bowls.