(Posted October 11, 2021)

HUNTINGDON, Pa.—"Soup season” is here and with it comes the 15th annual Juniata College Empty Bowls event, ready to combat hunger by raising money for Huntingdon County’s four food banks and Huntingdon Area elementary schools’ Backpack Program. 

This year’s Empty Bowls will follow last year’s very successful online format, with bowls available for purchase online Sunday, Oct. 17, through Thursday, Oct. 21, with a preview Saturday, Oct. 16. The handmade, one-of-a-kind bowls will be sold for $15, $13 for seniors/students (ID required at pick-up). Information can be found at https://emptybowlsjuniata.square.site/. Drive-through pick up will be available Saturday, Oct. 23, in the parking lot behind Good Hall. A separate pick up day will be held for Juniata students, faculty, and staff.

“Empty Bowls is hosted by faculty, staff, and students and benefits countless Huntingdon County residents who are food insecure,” said Bethany Benson, chair of the Art and Art History Department at Juniata. “In the past 14 years, Empty Bowls has raised over $65,000 for area food banks; this year, the demand on our food banks, pantries, and backpack programs is greater than ever before.”

The event is organized by Benson, Robert Boryk an instructor of art and art history, Lisa Baer, the Unity House coordinator, Jennifer Troha, and Lorri Shideler, director of Conferences and Events, assisted by students enrolled in the Empty Bowls Practicum course and volunteers from both the Juniata and Huntingdon communities. 

Empty Bowls is a part of Juniata’s commitment to community-engaged learning. One of Juniata’s Institutional Learning Objectives is for students to be engaged with themselves and the world, and community-engaged learning provides one pathway for this outcome. All proceeds from Empty Bowls go directly to the beneficiary organizations. The bowls made for the event were created by students enrolled in Empty Bowls Practicum, faculty, and friends of Juniata College. 

“Students who experience community-engaged learning expand their democratic values and civic responsibility while gaining valuable skillsets that include creating handmade artwork, respectful collaboration with community partners, and their responsibility as a contributing citizen,” said Benson.

October is World Hunger Awareness Month. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one in six children in the United States (18 percent) live in food-insecure households. Food insecurity is defined as not having consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Data collected by FeedingAmerica.org in 2019 indicates Huntingdon County’s food insecurity rate for children is 18.2 percent, with a projected 2021 rate of 19.6 percent. Food insecurity has the potential to be harmful to individuals of any age, but can be especially devastating to children. 

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.