Chili served, bowls sold

Twenty dollars for a bowl of chili seems steep, but for the “Empty Bowls Chili Cookoff” at Wichita State Saturday, the money went towards good cause.

All the proceeds from the cookoff went to the Kansas Food Bank, which spend money feeding people in the community.

The bowls were handmade by members of the student’s Ceramics guild at Wichita State and anyone who volunteered to make one. People who bought bowls at the events kept them, which can serve as a reminder of people who go without food.

“Then people bring home their bowls to remind them how many empty bowls there are and how many people go hungry,” said Brenda Lichman, a lecturer in the school of fine art and design. “One-hundred percent of the proceeds go to the Kansas Food Bank.”

Members of the community, students and faculty all turned out to eat chili and buy bowls. The price for students was $10 and $20 for everyone else who came.

“This is our third big year,” Lichman said. “It’s definitely our largest. People really come together as a community.”

Students at local public schools also had the opportunity to create bowls.

“This year we went to elementary and high schools and we got more connected with the community,” said Tyler Stonestreet, a senior majoring in ceramics, said. “A lot of those schools don’t have art programs and it was cool to give them the chance to create art.”

“Last year we raised $16,000,” Stonestreet said, “Grad assistants and professors come and make about 30 bowls each. The ones the professors make can go for $60.”

Bowls were ornate and varied in appearance and came from different places.

“There are bowls from Italy, Montana, and Alaska to name a few,” said Stephanie Lamter, a former WSU ceramics teacher.

There was also a silent auction for buying bowls.

“They also have a silent auction where alumni sell ceramics,” Stonestreet said. “The ceramics guild also has an upcoming Christmas sale at the Ulrich (Museum of Art).”

Volunteers from the school and the community participated and helped coordinate the event.

“It’s a fun time,” Kansas Food Bank CEO Brian Walker said. “It’s a good community that wants to help people.”

“We’d like to see this grow, and we want to say thank you to all the folks who put this on,” Walker said, “It’s a lot of time and energy. Folks like this enable the Food Bank to do what it does.”