The Empty Bowls fundraiser at Northport High School returns Friday, February 10, with pickup between 4 and 8pm. All proceeds will go directly to Ramon’s Place Food Pantry, which has been assisting local families at the high school since 2018.
Empty Bowls is an international grassroots movement that was created by artists and artisans to raise money for food-related charities. Community members are invited to order soups, pasta dishes and salads, provided by local eateries, for pickup (via drive-through, this year) at the high school. All menu options are $10; you can place your order here.
Below is a description of the Empty Bowls event by NHS senior and Key Club co-president, Samuel Rosenfeld-McMahon.
Who runs Empty Bowls and what’s the mission of the event?
Empty Bowls was previously run by Ms. Johansen in the Art Department, but in 2021 the Key Club picked up the event. We have continued to keep it active after COVID, which is amazing. The mission of this event is to, of course, raise funds that will go to Ramon’s Food Pantry. But it’s also to raise awareness about food insecurity. Food insecurity is something that does not only happen in the city or in low-income areas, it is everywhere – even here in Northport.
How successful has Empty Bowls been in the past?
Last year, I believe we made close to $2,500 gross and close to $1,500 in net profits, after we paid back restaurants and such. We are hoping this year to surpass those numbers and we are currently on track to do so! This event was one of Northport High School’s largest fundraisers pre-COVID and we are hoping to bring that effect back as well!
How does the event work with local restaurants?
We go around in person to speak to different restaurant managers and owners to get “donations.” Ever since COVID, we have wanted to give back to restaurants, especially after their hard hit, so we now offer payments to restaurants in exchange for their participation. We essentially purchase their products, just at a much lower cost. So many restaurants already know about Empty Bowls and are so excited to help us every year – so excited that they will refuse to take a donation from us, making some soups/salads completely donated!
What does Empty Bowls teach students and how does it impact the community?
The event not only teaches students and the community about food insecurity and ways we can combat it, but also how to work together. It is incredible to witness such amazing acts of charity from restaurants donating food, to students helping organize and work the event, and of course our community support through their purchases as well. The Ramon’s Pantry services local Northport-East Northport families who struggle with food insecurity, so when a community member orders, they are helping their neighbors who are less fortunate, which is a beautiful thing.