Dirty hands no obstacle to kids’ hunger project


For the first time, Kyrene Middle School students got their hands dirty while creating ceramic bowls in art class to be donated to this year’s Empty Bowls event.

Empty Bowls is a volunteer initiative of residents to raise awareness and money for hunger issues. Ceramic bowls made by high school and middle school students are sold to raise money for the Tempe Community Action Agency and United Food Band to help fight hunger.

“I think this is a fantastic project,” said KMS art teacher Phil Rowland. “It’s a chance for them to give back to the community by making art – it’s actually fun for them.”

Seventh-grade students were busy crafting small works of art on Feb. 15, while learning about ceramic techniques used to make hand-crafted clay bowls. Rowland instructed the kids on how to properly “score and slip” the pots, adding a coil of clay to create the top of the bowl.

“We’re going to make some awesome bowls to donate,” he said, while helping students.

Rowland said he initially got involved with Empty Bowls while teaching in Colorado, and jumped at the opportunity to contribute again in Arizona.

“I’m doing this with two of my classes,” said Rowland, who has been teaching art for nine years. “The students get really excited about it.”

Tayler Everts, a seventh grader in Rowland’s art class, said, “I like this project because I’m able to express myself and also help the community.”

Dillon Lendo, another student in Rowland’s class, said art was one of his favorite subjects in school.

“I just like making art and doing ceramics,” he said. “We’re helping the homeless with this project, too.”

Kyrene Middle School students’ bowls will be donated and sold at the Empty Bowls event on Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 26. Residents can purchase a bowl for $1, which will go toward the event’s fundraising initiative.


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