Bowls filled to prevent empty ones

College students are hungry – and broke, but at least there are free ALANA center breakfasts and parents to assist in times of need. Not all people are that lucky.With hunger other than their own in mind, UVM students flocked to the Living/Learning Fireplace Lounge this past Sunday to support Empty Bowls, a national charity foundation designed to raise awareness about hunger on a local and national level.A dinner of soup from a theirs-to-keep handcrafted bowl was a perk. “[The organization] is trying to get everyone together to participate in order to help fight hunger,” event coordinator Monique Wright said.Students who arrived at the event paid $7 and donated one perishable food item in exchange for their bowl and meal.They were given a choice from an assortment of more than 300 bowls, event volunteers running the charity said, and they were offered a selection between minestrone and butternut squash soup.All of the proceeds, including the perishable goods and leftover soup from the event, go directly to the Vermont Foodbank, where it will be distributed to Vermonters in need, Wright said.Empty Bowls is an 18-year-old UVM tradition that originally began in Michigan in 1991, when two schoolteachers attempted to remind people that there are still people who remain hungry in the world, with empty bowls lacking in food, Wright said.During the event, students were encouraged to read hunger statistics posted on signs throughout the Fireplace Lounge. The event was complemented by live music as well.The event sends an important message to students, soup-ladling event volunteer Lucy Perutz said.”The message that students can influence the views and actions of other students — it’s a chain of inspiration that begins with the pottery process,” she said.The goal of Empty Bowls is for the handmade bowls distributed to serve as a reminder to many students of the importance of eating food that is local and home-cooked.”I like eating out of a piece of art — it reminds me of the authenticity of food grown directly in Vermont,” Perutz said. Nearly all the participants in the event agreed upon the quality of the soup.”I lost myself in the splendor of the soup,” sophomore and event participant Andrew Schlesinger said.”Splendor” in the sense of supporting people in need, he said.