Every year, Millburn Middle School peer leaders attempt to contribute to their community by holding their Empty Bowls Fundraiser.
“Too many people have little to eat,” explains Ceci Muller of SOAR. Her peer leader group spent months making and painting ceramic bowls in hopes of helping recipients from Down the Block, Inc and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, culminating in their Empty Bowls event held on March 9th.
On the evening of March 9th, peer leaders from SOAR and MASH piled into the middle school cafeteria in order to set up for a simple dinner demonstrating their school’s commitment to helping the hungry and homeless. Students and parents bought handmade bowls and were served soup, bread, refreshments and cookies. They listened to remarks by the peer leaders, MMS principal, Mr. Cahill, and a representative from the Community Food Bank, and watched a short video concerning the 20% of New Jersey children who go hungry every month.
It was not a somber evening, however. Laughs and chatter filled the room as MASH peer leaders (functioning as waiters) circulated bread bowls and drinks. They picked up the food from other peer leaders manning an aptly named “bread table” and took orders on thin slips of paper. Two soup choices were served and attendees received their bowls at the end of the evening clean and stored safely in paper bags. When cookies were brought out, waiters carried ten to twenty at a time for their table occupants (while being prohibited from touching to cookies themselves.)
In addition to being a “really great fundraiser,” however, Empty Bowls was also a wonderful experience for the peer leaders. At the end of the two-hour event, there was a veritable stampede for the remaining edible objects.
But even joy and laughter aside, we should also remember the purpose of the fundraiser is only one step of the fight in combating hunger and MMS students and families can continue to help outside of one night on March 9th.