A bowl of soup, a piece of bread and a glass of water. Not the most exciting or stomach-filling dinner ever, especiallyon a Friday night. But for more than 900,000 hungry people in the Delaware Valley, it's a menu fit for a king.
That's the point the sixth grade students tried to get across to the gathered guests at Log College Middle School Friday night.
"We learned some facts about hunger at school earlier today," said Emma Stanfield. "There's so many struggling to get food on the table, it made me ralize how lucky I am."
Stanfield and the rest of her classmates spent the last few weeks creating ceramic bowls in art class. Once the dishes were painted and fired, the students could purchase the bowls for $12 and get tickets for them and their family to attend the Empty Bowls Dinner Benefit on Friday night.
"This is the first year for the program," said Erin Landy, a sixth grade social studies teacher at Log College. "Our art teacher, Laurie Schenfelt, brought the idea over from Willow Dale, and we ran with it. We want to promote hunger awareness and remind people that even though our bowls are filled, there are so many empty bowls in our region."
Log College kitchen workers Barbara Saricks and Cindy Harkins volunteered their time to help prepare more than 100 servings each of chicken noodle and tomato soup, along with the slices of bread. Diners moved their trays along the soup line and made their way to the school cafeteria.
"This is a nice lesson," said Saricks. "It's a nice experience. You really appreciate what you have and keeps you from taking dinner for granted."
The guests also had an opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for more than 60 gift baskets provided by area businesses and a 50/50 for cash prizes. All of the proceeds raised Friday night benefitted Philabundance, a hunger advocacy organization that supplies more than 500 food pantries throughout the Delaware Valley.
"We have seen a 26 percent increase in the number of people at risk for food insecurity in the past year," said Marianne Lynch, director of corporate, foundation and government support for Philabundance. "It's a combination of the economy and the fact that a lot of the sustainable, middle class jobs have left. A lot of people have to work at least two jobs to try and make it."
It's a fact that was well-illustrated by Stanfield and some of her fellow classmates in a short skit that showed how hard it can be for two parents to buy enough food at the grocery store to feed their children.
"It's great when we can reach the kids at such a young age," said Lynch. "They grow up to be more passionate about the issue and are more eager to do something about it."