HARWICH – Cape Cod might be known as a place of wealth, but hunger is a real problem here, one that those at Monomoy Regional Middle School are doing something about.
To ensure struggling families have what they need, the school created the Monomoy Market, an in-school food pantry, and to raise money for the market the school will host its first-ever Empty Bowls, Full Hearts fundraiser.
Slated for March 26, the event will offer a selection of different soups accompanied by rolls, butter, water, and a brownie for dessert. The Special Sips Café will also be selling additional beverages, including coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
On display at the event will be the many bowls handmade by MRMS students in Deborah DeQuattro's art classes.
“We've been trying to get our clay program going, and I've got a couple of seminar classes,” DeQuattro said. “I try to do some sort of community service assignment with them. I've known about Bowls for Hunger, or Empty Bowls for years. It started in 1997 in the Midwest and has really grown. I thought, 'Why not have the kids do it and feel like a part of it?'”
DeQuattro combined forces with the unifying arts department at MRMS, including Pam Reuss, Darlene Coy, Leslie Botsford, Jake Sumner, Kathy Andrews, Joe Webster Diana Toscano, Gordon Napier, Cheri Armstrong, Jodi Kelly, Jen Walter, Sara Cain, Matt Barnes, Mike Newby, Joan Roberts, and Principal Mark Wilson, in helping to create the inaugural Empty Bowls event.
“We help students in our own community, families in our own community that need help,” DeQuattro said. “I think it's important to be aware of that. It also gives the students a sense of community and of what is possible.”
The school's cafeteria staff will be cooking up four different types of soup, everything from noodle soup to chowder to a vegetarian option. Rather than sell tickets to gain admission to the event, DeQuattro opted for a “donate what you can” concept to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy a meal.
While the student bowls will eventually go home with their respective artists, handmade clay spoons, also created by DeQuattro's students, will be offered for sale. To further enhance the event there will be performances by members of the school chorus and band, and the Human Rights Academy will offer a presentation about Monomoy Market.
DeQuattro said the event not only gave students the opportunity to work with clay, but also to generate compassion for those in the community that need an extra boost.
“It's about understanding that there are people in your own community that are having a hard time,” said DeQuattro. “What does it mean to be kind, to be supportive, what does it mean to reach out? We're supporting people. They really do understand.”
At the heart of the fundraiser is Monomoy Market, created last year to address the issue of hunger within the school community. Run by the school's Human Rights Academy under the tutelage of Reuss, the market offers nutritious foods and household items at no cost to those in need. The market is housed in a safe, confidential space within MRMS, and strives to ensure that all students and their families are cared for.
“At times in your life you need help, and sometimes you help someone else,” DeQuattro said. “This is a way of instilling that idea at a young age. We all have something to give.”
Empty Bowls, Full Hearts
March 26 from 5 to 7 p.m.
At Monomoy Regional Middle School on Crowell Road in Chatham.
The public is welcome to attend and donations are voluntary and will benefit Monomoy Market. For more information email Deborah DeQuattro at firstname.lastname@example.org.