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From pottery wheel to a much-needed meal

Empty Bowls program comes to campus in efforts to help food insecure families in Kansas

Wichita+State+alumni%2C+Kristin+Dexter%2C+makes+a+bowl+during+the+Empty+Bowls+event+in+Henrion+Hall.
Wichita State alumni, Kristin Dexter, makes a bowl during the Empty Bowls event in Henrion Hall.

Wichita State alumni, Kristin Dexter, makes a bowl during the Empty Bowls event in Henrion Hall.

Selena Favela

Selena Favela

Wichita State alumni, Kristin Dexter, makes a bowl during the Empty Bowls event in Henrion Hall.

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The Kansas Food Bank and Wichita State University have paired up for the fourth consecutive year to help feed hungry Kansans through the “Empty Bowls” program.

“In Kansas, 13.2 percent of our population is food insecure, meaning that they don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” Debi Kreutzman, Community Relations Manager of the Kansas Food Bank, said. “Events like empty bowls really helps raise awareness as well as funds that are used to put missing meals on the table for people that are hungry.”

Empty Bowls gives community members the opportunity to create clay bowls which are then sold at the annual chili feed On Oct. 28 to raise money for the Kansas Food Bank.

“Money raised will support the Kansas Food Bank in a variety of different ways,” Kreutzman said. “We serve 85 Kansas counties. In Wichita, we have over 30 pantry partners.”

In addition to the local pantries, the money raised will also be used for the Food-4-Kids program. Last year, around 6,600 kids participated in the program, including roughly 1,300 from Wichita.

“The kids receive a backpack full of shelf-stable food to take home on the weekends,” Kreutzman said. “The food program is designed to help children who experience chronic hunger on the weekend when schools are not in session.”

Brenda Lichman said she first had the idea to bring Empty Bowls to Wichita after volunteering at an Empty Bowls event in Dallas.

“Being a potter, you’re in the studio alone most of the time, so I wanted to do something more to help people,” Lichman said. “I knew it [Empty Bowls] was just something I had to do. I’m passionate about food, and nutrition and helping people in need.”

Empty Bowls provides an opportunity for Wichita State students and faculty to unite with the surrounding communities to directly make a difference in Wichita.

“I think that it’s nice that this is one way art can directly contribute to the community as a whole,” Taylor Sijan, Empty Bowls committee member, said. “It is nice that we can see this impact Wichita directly.”

The bowls will be for sale at the chili cook-off on Oct. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bowls will be $20 for the community, staff and faculty and $10 for Wichita State students.

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