Empty Bowls fundraiser helps fill the plates of Springfield area’s hungry

Fundraiser brings in $40,593 to support meals for the food insecure fed through Second Harvest Food Bank. 
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — The community came together recently to raise more than $40,000 to conquer hunger locally, as part of the 29th annual Empty Bowl fundraiser.

Bowls created by Springfield High School art students and Wittenberg ceramic students, staff, faculty, and other community members were auctioned off to raise funds to feed the food insecure. 

Wittenberg volunteers met to throw, glaze, and fire approximately 1,000 bowls with 90 percent of these being made on Empty Bowls Throwing Days that took place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Springfield High School students contributed 600 bowls.

Students created 600 bowls to contribute to this year's Empty Bowl fundraiser.Springfield High has participated in the Empty Bowls event since 2014, and since that time has created more than 5,000 soup bowls, raising more than $87,000 for local hunger relief and providing nearly 475,000 meals.

Wittenberg’s Department of Art in conjunction with Second Harvest Food Bank hosts the Empty Bowls fundraiser with all proceeds supporting the mission of Second Harvest Food Bank in Springfield.

University officials say Empty Bowls exemplifies Wittenberg’s service-based mission, which encourages students to discern their vocations and to understand the meaningful connection between self-fulfillment and service to the world. 

In 2019, Wittenberg's Empty Bowls event set a record by raising $50,187 for Second Harvest to help address food insecurity in Springfield and Clark County. In 2023, after returning to an in-person format, the event brought in more than $41,000.

Springfield High School art students contributed to the success of this year's Empty Bowl fundraiser that brought in more than $400,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank.Empty Bowls is a national fundraising campaign to combat food insecurity in local communities, and Wittenberg has been running its version of  the event  for 29 years. It has raised more than $625,000 (which equates to more than 3 million meals) for the Second Harvest Food Bank. 

“This is truly a community event that brings many people from Springfield to campus and is a major fundraising event for the Second Harvest Food Bank,” says Scott Dooley, chair and professor of art, who has helped to coordinate the annual event since its inception.

Each year, Second Harvest Food Bank lines up sponsors to donate soup and bread, including Parkhurst Dining at Wittenberg and several other community members and restaurants. 

Patrons choose a bowl to purchase at $20 each and enjoy a soup dinner and conversation with fellow community members. Participants take the bowl home with them as a reminder of the many people who are hungry in the community. It is estimated that 425 people attended the 2024 event.

Springfield High School art students contributed to the success of this year's Empty Bowl fundraiser.“I am proud to say that we have been able to grow this project through the tough economic climate of the last decade,” says Dooley.

Sources: Wittenberg Office of University Communications, Springfield City Schools Communications, Second Harvest

Students created 600 bowls to contribute to this year's Empty Bowl fundraiser.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.