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Oct. 19, 2012
CONTACT: K. E. Schwab

Volunteers paint 'Empty Bowl's'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - More than 100 volunteers are expected to lend a hand painting ceramic soup bowls for Slippery Rock University's annual Empty Bowls project, which is designed to increase hunger awareness.

The Empty Bowls event will be Oct. 30 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

"According to the statistics I have seen, more than 9 million people die worldwide each year because of hunger and malnutrition, and 5 million of them are children. Approximately 1.2 billion people suffer from hunger. Our project is small, but every little bit helps and we are urging everyone to be part of the solution to the hunger problem," said Lauren Dagnon, program director for SRU's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and project organizer.

"Hunger is a local, national and worldwide issue. Our project puts the spotlight on hunger to make more people aware. We have the hope each of us will do something to help others," she said.

"Over the years, our Empty Bowls program has been very successful, so this year we are again expanding to offer both lunch and dinner seatings," Dagnon said.

Lunch service will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and dinner will be 4-6 p.m. Cost is $5, and the meal, provided by AVI, the campus contract food vendor, will offer soup, bread and beverage.

Participants will be invited to select their handmade soup bowl, then after the meal take it home as a reminder of hunger issues, Dagnon said.

The SRU Community Service Corps., SRU Rotaract and the SRU Co-Curricular Experience Program are sponsoring this year's event.

Proceeds from the project will go to the Slippery Rock Feed My Sheep Food Cupboard, a local food pantry based at Slippery Rock Community Park; the Heifer Project and Hope House in Africa.

Heifer International, based in Little Rock, Ark., is a global nonprofit organization with a goal of ending poverty and hunger in a sustainable fashion. Established in 1944, Heifer International gives out gifts of livestock, seeds and trees and provides extensive training to those in need.

Myra Balok, assistant professor of English at SRU, suggested adding support for Hope House in Libreville, Gabon, Africa after she spent time there last summer. "They have about 50 children, ages 3-16, and one set of caretakers. It costs about $140 a day to feed the children and they are in serious poverty," Balok, who visited with a contingent from Grove City Alliance Church, said.

A collage Balok made of her visit will be displayed at the Empty Bowls event.

Volunteers interested in helping make the soup bowls are invited to a 7-11 p.m., Oct. 24, "All Night Bowling" event at the SRU Art Ceramics Studio. No experience is necessary. Once painted, the bowls will be fired in the studio's kilns and readied for the Empty Bowls event.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.