MCC Marks 20 Years of Hosting Empty Bowls Project Benefitting Foodshare

MANCHESTER, Conn. (October 11, 2017) – Over the last 20 years the annual Empty Bowls Project at Manchester Community College has raised a total of $270,000 to benefit Foodshare.

This year – commemorating the 20th anniversary of the on-campus event – MCC faculty, staff and other volunteers are preparing for and will host the community on Saturday, October 21, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the college’s Culinary Arts Center. Admission is $15.

The Empty Bowls Project offers guests the unique opportunity to not only partake in a hearty meal featuring soups, breads, desserts and beverages served by MCC’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management students, but to select and bring home a soup bowl, which is intended to remind people of all the empty bowls in food-insecure households across the region and around the world.

“The Empty Bowls project is a very special way of getting students and the community involved in a way that makes a difference,” said Molly Devanney, vice president of public relations and owner of Highland Park Market, and an MCC Hospitality Marketing adjunct faculty member, who is for the fourth year serving as honorary chair of the event. “Many of the people who volunteer have been helped themselves by Foodshare and similar programs, so this is also their way of giving back.”

MCC Professor Carl Stafford, chair of the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management department, added, “There are a score of restaurants that have been with us since the beginning, and they now call us around this time of year to make sure we involve them again. We are very pleased also that some of our alumni return to help out, and they bring their children.”

Stafford and Professor Kathy Kern are co-chairs of the organizing committee. Since early September they have been leading an army of volunteers working with some 50 restaurants and other local suppliers who are donating soups and necessary items to make the unique annual fundraiser the success it is. In the coming days, the volunteers will pick up 200 gallons of soup from locations across the region.

Bowls are donated by a variety of sources, including South Windsor, Conn.-based John Macomber, founder of Greenleaf Pottery, an artisan with 40 years’ experience and a longtime contributor of handcrafted stoneware to the MCC-hosted event. Bowls also are made and donated specifically for the event by MCC ceramics students.

The bowls are filled as a reminder that many people aren’t able to provide themselves with even a simple meal such as soup or rice.  All proceeds from the Empty Bowls Project benefit Foodshare of Greater Hartford. In addition, take-home quarts of soup will be available for sale at the cost of $7 each, or four for $25. More than 400 people attended last year, and that event collected some $20,000.

“We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support and partnership with Manchester Community College,” said Foodshare President and CEO Jason Jakubowski. “The Manchester Community College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs have been a vital force in the success of this event for the past 20 years, not only by providing resources but also awareness in our Greater Hartford community in the fight against hunger.”

Foodshare is the regional food bank for Hartford and Tolland counties, with a mission of combating hunger for an estimated 127,000 people living in Hartford and Tolland counties who are food insecure – meaning they lack consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.

Fundraisers like the Empty Bowls Project are more crucial than ever, given that the food bank estimates it is able to address only about one-third of the community’s food-insecurity problem. As of last year, Foodshare helped provide more than 675,000 meals to hungry neighbors, thanks to the project.

About Foodshare – Foodshare is leading an informed, coordinated response to hunger in our community. Foodshare is the Feeding America food bank serving Connecticut’s Hartford and Tolland counties, where 127,000 people struggle with hunger. In partnership with the food industry, donors, community leaders and volunteers, Foodshare works to maximize access to nutritious food and other resources that support food security. Last year, Foodshare distributed 11.5 million meals worth of food to a network of 300 local partner programs including food pantries, shelters, and community kitchens. And, because hunger is bigger than food, Foodshare collaborates with anti-hunger organizations, policy makers, and the broader community to build effective solutions to end hunger. Foodshare is changing what it means to be a food bank. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.