In Sept. 2011, the Susquehanna River flooded and threw Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas into a state of pandemonium. Houses, schools and businesses were forced to evacuate as the muddy water reaped its devastation.
While the mayhem of the flood was a cause for mourning, it struck inspiration in Jean Adams, an adjunct faculty member of the art and integrated media departments, who helped put together the “Empty Bowls” charity event at Wilkes the last two years as a way to fight back against the destruction.
“I’d always wanted to do it but that was what really sparked the fire,” she said. “We were hit by the flood two years ago and I escaped unscathed, and I realized how lucky I was. We still had our jobs and a house to live in and so many people didn’t have that. I thought ‘we have to do something’.”
“Empty Bowls” is an annual nationwide even, but this its second appearance at Wilkes. Participants spend $15 on tickets for the event and in return receive a bowl of soup with bread and a drink. In addition, they take home a handmade bowl – an item, Adams said, that will serve as a reminder to continue to give back.
“We hope that by having a handmade bowl, they’ll keep it out and every day it’ll be a reminder that there are people who don’t have anything to put in that bowl to eat,” she said. “People keep it there as a visual reminder that we should always be willing to help someone who can’t help themselves.”
Last year, the event raised $11,000 for local food banks such as the Back Mountain Food Pantry and the Luzerne County Community College Student Food Bank; Adams said she wants to surpass that number this year.
“It is my hope that we can sell every single one of our bowls this year and give $15,000 to help feed the hungry in our community.”
Lyn Carey, owner of Earth & Wears, a “handmade lovelies” shop that is contributing to the event, outlined the benefits of attending the event.
“It’s a win-win; you have a great meal you’re getting a handmade bowl and someone else is going to get fed because you’ve donated your $15,” she said. “You’ll feel fulfilled because you’re giving back.”
The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, in the SUB Ballroom. Students can purchase tickets or learn more about the event by contacting Adams at [email protected]