MANCHESTER – Preschool and fourth grade students at Manchester Memorial Elementary School recently teamed up to put their creative talents to use, and painted bowls for The Open Door Empty Bowl To Go 2.0 fundraiser.
The annual fundraiser will be held as a drive-thru for the second time this year due to the pandemic.
“There’s a special sense of community that comes from joining together and using your creativity to help someone else,” President and CEO Julie LaFontaine said. “The bowls serve as a reminder that somewhere, someone’s bowl is empty, but with a paintbrush, a little imagination, and a desire to help, you can support a fundraiser that puts fresh, healthy food in the hands of your neighbors.”
In 2021, The Open Door provided 1.83 million pounds of food to 8,516 people from 4,176 families. Empty Bowl To Go 2.0 supports programs of The Open Door including its Mobile Market and Summer Meals for Kids programs. Last year, the Mobile Market distributed 179,053 pounds of food to underserved neighborhoods, senior centers, housing authorities, and schools. The new Farmers Truck will provide further expansion of the Mobile Market program into additional locations with identified needs. In 2021, the Summer Meals for Kids program provided more than 30,000 meals to local children.
Students at Manchester Memorial painted 25 bowls for the Empty Bowl To Go 2.0 event slated for May 7.
“We just had a great time,” said Manchester Memorial Art Teacher Claudette Yutkins. “They were really happy to give something to help others.”
Yutkins said students in particular enjoyed painting designs in the bottom of their bowls, to be enjoyed as a “surprise” when the user finishes their meal. One group of students painted a smiley face, for example.
“It brought the whole project together,” Yutkins said. “They are trying to do something to make someone else happy—it was just cute.”
Several area colleges and schools, community organizations, businesses, clubs and private groups have stepped up to paint bowls for the fundraiser, including:
• Endicott College Students
• Gordon College Students
• The Academy at Penguin Hall
• O’Maley Innovation Middle School
• Manchester Memorial School
• Pingree School
• Shore Country Day School
• Ipswich Rotary
• Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce
• Institution for Savings
• 4H Rabbit and Cavy Club
• Gloucester Elks
• Happy Valley
• First Congregational Church of Essex
• Lisa Vincent Book Club
• Island Garden Club
• Members of the community
Additionally, many local artists, potters and public officials have painted bowls for the Empty Bowl Silent Auction, set to go online for the month of May. All slots for painting bowls for the 2022 fundraiser have been filled.
Empty Bowl To Go 2.0 will be held on Saturday, May 7 from 4-6 p.m. at The Open Door at 28 Emerson Ave. Appointments will be required and available to be scheduled once pay-what-you-can ticket sales go live on April 1 by visiting FOODPANTRY.org.
The mission of The Open Door is to alleviate the impact of hunger in communities. Strategies are used to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security.
Founded in 1978, The Open Door is a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit and community food resource center for low-income residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Boxford, Rowley, Topsfield, and Wenham. In 2021, The Open Door helped stabilize the lives and health of 8,516 people from 4,176 households through the distribution of 1.83 million pounds of food.