Mercyhurst ‘Empty Bowls’ event is stark reminder of hunger and poverty

It’s not just chicken soup that’s good for the soul.

The annual Empty Bowls hunger awareness dinner — where a variety of donated soups and fresh bread make up this simple meal — takes place Sunday, April 13, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in Egan Dining Hall at Mercyhurst University.

The public is welcome to attend; prices are $15 for soup and a handcrafted bowl or $5 just for soup. Proceeds from Empty Bowls benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania.

“The Empty Bowls event allows us to not only raise money and awareness about hunger in the immediate community, but to bring attention to hunger as a worldwide problem,” said John Herrmann, a member of Mercyhurst Student Government (MSG) Mission Committee.

Second Harvest provides food to more than 150 organizations across the county and western Pennsylvania. In the past year, they served 72,600 individuals, including more than 21,000 children, said social work major Michelle Ahrens.

“By supporting Second Harvest Food Bank, our community can provide services such as after-school meals, food pantries, Meals on Wheels and soup kitchens for the elderly, the disabled, families stuck in poverty, and anyone who is in need of their services,” she said.

In addition to MSG, student volunteers in the Social Work and Art Education clubs are dedicating efforts to make this event a success. More than 250 handmade bowls have been crafted for the meal, with the bulk of the work completed by art education majors. Students from Collegiate Academy and Mercyhurst Preparatory School are also donating handmade bowls.

Live music will accompany the event, as well as a silent art auction, which will display pieces donated by local artists.

This year’s vendors, who are generously donating soup, include: Bertrand's Bistro, The Brewerie, Joe Root’s Grill, Molly Brannigans, Pufferbelly Restaurant, U Pick 6 Publick House and Whole Foods Co-op.

Tickets can be purchased at Second Harvest Food bank or through John Herrmann at Any remaining tickets will be available at the door, although it is recommended they be purchased in advance.

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