STARKSBORO - The Starksboro Food Shelf has over $1,200 in its coffers to purchase food for local residents struggling to fill their plates. The funds are the result of a recent community-based Empty Bowl dinner held recently at Robinson Elementary School.
Empty Bowl dinners are held nationwide to generate awareness of hunger and to raise funds for hunger relief. Community members, local artisans and school children make and decorate glazed pottery bowls, which are purchased at the dinner and filled with a simple meal of soup and bread.
Vera Ryersbach, Robinson's art teacher, spearheaded the event and had each of her art classes create bowls. Other bowls were donated by local potters for a total of 200 bowls that sold for $10 each.
The bowls were filled with a variety of soups made by Robinson students, under the supervision of Emily Betz, former owner of Sauce Bistro in Shelburne. Each class had a specialty soup derived from a subject they are currently studying, such at "Immigration Soup" and "Medieval Soup." Students also made a variety of breads with help from Starksboro resident Jennifer Turner, who made the dough at home and helped the children bake it in the school kitchen.
The dinner was a true community effort and a great learning experience for the students. They were able to participate in a community service event from beginning to end, and see the results of their work, including the presentation of the large check to Town Clerk Cheryl Estey and Selectboard Chair Susan Jefferies, who accepted the funds on behalf of the Food Shelf during a special school assembly.
At the dinner itself, organizers and diners alike pitched in to make the meal run smoothly.
"Every time I turned around, people just jumped in and helped. It was remarkable," said Ryersbach.
She also noted that the event was supported by donations of food from local businesses, such as Lewis Creek Farm, Rockville Market, the Middlebury Food Co-op and Misty Knoll Farms.