Jack Lanzi’s Empty Bowls Reflection

I began to get involved with Empty Bowls last year and I did a lot of work on the charity with Michael Lowe this year. Empty Bowls is grass roots movement to fight hunger where students will make ceramic bowls and learn about the issues of hunger in their community. At the end of the year these bowls are sold and all of the proceeds go to Share Our Strength to fight hunger. The charity is a great way to both get hands on and make something tangible as well as learn about important issues. This year I helped students make, glaze, and fire bowls at multiple sessions. At the end of the year I worked with a few students and Phyllis to box and label the bowls so we begin next year with a head start on the bowls for our final event and have our organizing system pre-set.
At every session I would give a brief hunger talk about issues facing NYC and students can do to fix them. The first step is knowledge, and many people don’t know that 25% of households with children in cities are food insecure. People are also surprised that in New York, the Empire State, about one in seven people are unsure of where their next meal is coming from. Hunger issues run even deeper than this, with the cut off for receiving benefits set at an incredibly low level and the benefits equating to about $2.17 per person per meal. Many Americans live in so called food deserts without access to fresh fruit and vegetables and must drive for extended amounts of time of take public transit. Beyond presenting issues I like to talk about certain ways people can help fight hunger in their community. I provide information on local food kitchens that allow teenage volunteers, churches that host family events, such as the sandwich drive at my local church on the Upper West Side, and box top campaigns hosted by popular brands that pledge donations to fight hunger. With Empty Bowls, it has been an incredible experience to shine a light on the issue of food insecurity in our city and empower students with the tools to tackle the issue.

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