Ellicott City: Area schools to host Empty Bowls events, raise money, awareness of hunger

Have you heard of Empty Bowls? It's an international fundraising effort to fight hunger started by Michigan high school art teacher John Hartom. His students created ceramic bowls for a charity event. After guests used the bowl for their meal, they took it home as a reminder of those who don't have food. The money raised was donated to local food-related charities.

Hartom's idea quickly gained popularity and now Empty Bowl events are hosted by churches, schools, communities and art organizations around the country. In Ellicott City, two schools hold annual events.

Howard High School announced its National Art Honor Society will hold its annual Empty Bowls dinner benefit for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center tonight, Thursday, March 29, from 5-8 pm, in the school cafeteria. The event is open to the public.

For $10 admission, attendees can choose an "empty bowl" created by Howard High students and teachers and select from different kinds of soup donated by teachers and parents. All of the proceeds from the event go to Grassroots, Howard County's only 24-hour crisis center and homeless shelter.

"I'm always pleased how Empty Bowls turns out," art teacher and event organizer Molly Brennan said

For information about Howard High's Empty Bowl event call the school at 410-313-2867.

At Burleigh Manor Middle School, the only middle school in the county that hosts an Empty Bowls event, the entire eighth grade is involved in their annual fundraiser.

Several years ago, Burleigh art teacher Sherry Jankiewicz discussed the idea of integrating Empty Bowls into the school curriculum with family and consumer science teacher Krista Strawitch.

Together they devised a plan that allows eighth graders to create ceramic bowls in art class, cook the event food in home economic class and write about their experiences in language arts class. The students plan and execute the entire fundraiser — even serving the food and arranging student musicians to play at the event.

"(Through Empty Bowls), the students learn about hunger issues; that lots of kids go to bed hungry," Strawitch said.

Earlier this month, Burleigh held it's fourth annual Empty Bowls event which raised more than $4,000 for the Howard County Food Bank. To date, they have raised almost $20,000 for local hunger relief organizations.

Ken Kittelberger wrote to me about how he enjoys attending local high school musicals, dramas, and some orchestral performances with his teenage granddaughters. "I frequently tell friends that they don't have to go to Baltimore or Washington to see great drama or hear terrific orchestras. It is right here."

He asked me to let the community know that many of the school performances are free and open to the public. An event listing can be found at the Howard County public school website (www.hcpss.org) by clicking on the "Golden Opportunities" tab (see the Quick Links sections on the left). Or by going to the Howard County public school music website at www2.hcpss.org/music/ where you'll find choir and band related events. Thanks, Ken!

Looking for free information about Medicare and longterm care? The Howard County Department of Citizen Services' Office on Aging will present a series of free seminars to educate Howard County residents about Medicare. All workshops are led by counselors from the Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program and are open to the public.

"Medicare 101 - What You Can Expect From Medicare" will be held Wednesday, April 4 at 11 a.m. at Kiwanis Wallas Recreation Center, 3300 Norbert's Way. in Ellicott City. It is designed to give attendees a review of how Medicare works, what the benefits are, and how it relates to supplemental health insurance. Information on the Medicare's prescription drug coverage will also be available.

"Medicare 102 - Why Medicare Isn't Enough" will be held April 18 at 11 a.m. at Kiwanis Wallas Recreation Center. This workshop focuses on the gaps in Medicare coverage, and examines ways in which Medicare gaps can be covered. Get your questions answered and find out whether you have the insurance package that best suits your needs. Discussion includes information on Medicare Supplement Policies (Medigap) and Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C).

Toregister for the seminars or learn about additional events, call Howard County Department of Senior Services at 410-313-7391.

Howard County Public School System hosts "Coffee and Conversation" events throughout the county to give community members a chance to chat informally with the elected members of the Board of Education. Their next event will be held in the Centennial High school media center April 14 from 9:30-11 a.m.

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