Students, seniors raise awareness, fight hunger

DEARBORN — Dearborn Public Schools students and residents of Henry Ford Village senior living community collaborated to fight hunger June 6 for the third year in a row.

Working together, seniors and students created handcrafted pottery bowls in support of Empty Bowls, an international grassroots effort to raise money and awareness in the fight to end world hunger.

Dining on a simple meal of soup and bread to raise awareness of the issue of hunger, the event was attended by students, residents, family and school personnel.

Together, students and residents paired up to create the unique bowls and raise money for Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit. Students from Howe Elementary, Long Elementary and Bryant Middle schools visited the village for the designing and firing of the bowls, while residents visited the schools to glaze them.

“It is really a win-win situation for everyone involved,” said village resident and two-time participant Connie Dompier.

Dompier and her fellow village residents participate in several fundraising events throughout the year, but the inter-generational partnership makes Empty Bowls a uniquely rewarding experience.

Attendees paid to enjoy the meal and got the added bonus of taking a handcrafted bowl home with them. A silent auction for jewelry, antiques, baked goods and other handcrafted items was also held to bring in additional support for Gleaners.

There was plenty of soup and bread to go around, but those enjoying it were more impressed with the bowls at the luncheon.

“It is a great way to advertise the giving power of art, creativity and community,” said Wendy Sample.

Sample was a DPS Art Resources teacher and is currently the national president of Imagine/RENDER, the non-profit that founded the Empty Bowls Program. Since its inception nearly 25 years ago, Empty Bowls has reached more than 22 countries and helped feed countless individuals and families.

Sample’s parents moved into the senior living community a few years back and she appreciated the opportunity to have the residents work with the students, and partner with DPS.

“It gives both generations a chance to learn from one another,” Sample said.

“The students are delightful young people, and we are thankful that Wendy brought us together,” Dompier said. “I hope we continue doing this forever.”