On November 21, an inspiring Empty Bowls event during the annual Thanksgiving lunch at the Lower School raised money for Island Harvest, Long Island’s largest organization helping to feed the hungry. Students, faculty, parents and members of the extended community participated in the charitable event that for many showcased the spirit of the giving season, the importance of helping others in a time a need, and of course, the Ross School’s dedication to taking action to make a difference in our local and global communities. Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger.
Preparations for the fundraiser were led by Visual Arts Teacher Soraya Brooks and the Lower School Parents Association. In recent weeks, each student in Early Childhood through grade 6, as well as faculty, staff and parents, made ceramic bowls to sell at Friday’s Thanksgiving lunch. Bowls made by local potters were also donated by The Clay Art Guild of the Hamptons in Water Mill. The final result was a beautiful display of creativity and compassion.
“This was a great opportunity for everyone in the Ross community to be creative together and learn about making art which can make a difference in your community," Soraya said. The School sold over 200 bowls and raised more than $3,000 for Island Harvest, a portion of which they will use to purchase turkeys to give the gift of a Thanksgiving feast to a family in need.
The afternoon began in the Field House with an uplifting and party-like atmosphere. As guests arrived, they exchanged laughter and well-wishes and browsed the collection of ceramic bowls. Adding to the warm feelings was the Lower School students’ Friendship Tree, designed by parents Bill and Ann Stewart, displaying “leaves” upon which the students wrote what they are grateful for in their lives.
Stacy Parsell, vice president of Development at Island Harvest, greeted everyone with a message of sincere thanks and showed a moving video to share how her organization is helping to feed so many people. She said with the Ross School’s help, many in our community would not go hungry this holiday season.
“It’s really wonderful to be part of this and know that the School’s efforts will make an immediate difference,” said Genie Egerton-Warburton, LS PA president. “It’s also a valuable lesson for the children to see firsthand that when we work together, we can make amazing things possible. I’m so proud of all of them.”
The assembly also included a concert by Lower School students who volunteered to practice after school and sing at the event. They performed a beautiful rendition of “We are the World” and several moving solo songs. Local professional musicians Dan Koontz and Bruce Beyer accompanied the student singers and played the keyboard and drums.
For lunch, attendees enjoyed a simple meal of bread and soup as a humble reminder to be grateful for the many gifts we often take for granted.