Postponed: Northeast Harbor students take part in Empty Bowls Project

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 4:58 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 12:26 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTHEAST HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - Due to illness, a fundraiser at an MDI school has been postponed.

The Empty Bowls fundraiser at MDI Elementary School has been postponed.

The school decided to postpone it due to an increase of COVID in the school and community.

They will be rescheduling the event for a later date.

ORIGINAL STORY (March 16, 2023): The “Empty Bowls Project” is a world-wide service program that teaches students how to make bowls on a pottery wheel by hand, while also helping them learn about food insecurity in their community, and how they can help others fight food insecurity.

“We’re using art as advocacy to solve a bigger problem,” said MDI Elementary Art Teacher Shannon Westphal.

According to Resident Artist Kaitlyn Miller, the first thing students at MDI Elementary School learned about making bowls from clay is that it isn’t easy, and it’s a little messy.

“The hardest thing about making pots is centering, and it’s the very first thing that has to happen on the wheel,” Miller said. “So I think that was a struggle for everybody, was getting that clay to just settle down and be in the center of the wheel.”

“You come out with clay all down your hands,” said 8th grader Sage Sartin, “and all down your arm, sometimes on your pants or shirt.”

But in the Empty Bowls Project, education doesn’t stop at the pottery wheel.

“One-in-ten Mainers are food insecure, and I think it’s one-in-four children,” Sartin said. “It just kind of blows my mind to think about.”

“Maine has been ranked in the top five over the past ten years,” added eighth grader Delilah Damon-Dong. “Like, it’s never gone out of the top ten, so it’s really sad to see that.”

Students grades four through eight did eventually get the hang of centering the clay, and have made around 150 bowls that will be sold- with soup- for a suggested $10 donation Tuesday night at the Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor, with all proceeds going directly to the Good Shepherd food bank.

“It’s really cool to give back,” Damon-Dong said, “and it’s a great way to connect with the community as well as do stuff for our eighth grade year.

“It’s just a great feeling that you have when you realize how much you’re helping some people,” Sartin added.

Westphal has run the Empty Bowls program before, and says it might be the most important thing these students will do throughout their time in school.

“I’m really proud of these kids, and they should be proud of themselves,” Westphal said. “Because it’s taking the learning, and making a difference for real people. It’s putting food on people’s tables. So this is what public education is about. It’s using your learning to make a difference in the world.”

For more information on the Empty Bowls Project or the event at the Neighborhood House on Tuesday, visit the MDI Elementary School’s website at