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Students’ warm contributions infuse Food Bank fundraiser

Soup and a BowlPenn College students are again helping Soup and a Bowl, providing both of the title ingredients for the annual Central Pennsylvania Food Bank fundraiser to be held Friday, March 1, at the Genetti Hotel, 200 W. Fourth St.

Tickets are $30 in advance (or $35 at the door) and may be purchased by visiting the food bank’s website or by calling 570-321-8023. Three seating times – 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. – are available.

The nonprofit organization’s mission is to reduce hunger in 27 counties across Pennsylvania, including Lycoming County. By working with more than 1,000 partner agencies and programs, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank provided more 46 million meals in 2018, serving more than 140,000 neighbors each month.

Students of Penn College ceramics instructor David A. Stabley will again hone their skills – and use them to give back to the community – by making bowls for the event. And to fill those bowls, School of Business & Hospitality students will continue their longtime tradition of contributing soup.

Instructor David A. Stabley (right) and Luke A. Bierly, a graphic design major in his ceramics class this semester, display donations to the Soup and a Bowl fundraiser. (Photo provided)
Instructor David A. Stabley (right) and Luke A. Bierly, a graphic design major in his ceramics class this semester, display donations to the Soup and a Bowl fundraiser. (Photo provided)

“In the past eight years, my wife Deb (who also teaches at Penn College) and I have required each student to donate at least one bowl to the Soup and a Bowl event,” Stabley said. “Some students donated a bowl and attended a fundraising luncheon this past year. Hunger awareness is now on most of our students’ radar.”

Penn College opened an on-campus school pantry called The Cupboard, a partner of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, during the Fall 2016 semester to make nutritious food accessible to its students. The pantry is open to all students who present a valid college identification and complete a brief intake form. Some students reported The Cupboard reduced their stress and allowed them to focus on their studies.

“I think it has been a wonderful opportunity for our students to be involved with making bowls for such a worthy cause,” Stabley added. “I feel it is important for students to be connected and involved with their community. For many students, this is the first time they have been introduced to such an event. My hope is this will encourage them to become involved with their community in the future.”

Today, one in nine central Pennsylvanians struggle to put enough food on their table.  The Soup and a Bowl event is intended to serve as a reminder of the numerous unfilled bowls of those facing hunger in our communities.

“Hunger remains a huge issue in Central Pennsylvania,” said Joe Arthur, the food bank’s executive director. “Our popular Soup and a Bowl event not only raises vital funds for our mission, it also reminds us that we have many neighbors struggling to fill their bowls and that everyone can help.”

The Soup and a Bowl fundraiser started more than 20 years ago at the Harrisburg location, and has grown into two sold-out events per year at each of the food bank’s locations. There will be various soups, including vegetarian selections, made and donated by some of the finest local chefs, restaurants and catering companies, as well as donated bread and desserts.

Chef Frank M. Suchwala, associate professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, and Penn College baking and culinary students are preparing mushroom bisque and tomato basil.

Each attendee will receive a handcrafted pottery bowl as part of the ticket price. To date, the event has 415 donated bowls committed from Penn College students and such local potters as Centered Earth, Lisa Fink Pottery, Penn Creek Pottery, Factory Works and Kathy Sterngold from Lycoming College.

Limited-edition commemorative bowls designed by Jane Mulrooney from Red Ridge Pottery in Middleburg will be available for purchase at an additional $30, with all proceeds going to the programs that feed families, seniors, children and veterans in counties served by the food bank.

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