More than 500 bowls are hand-crafted each year in preparation for the annual Bowls For Hunger fundraiser.

The fundraiser will take place from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, in the McFarland High School cafeteria.

Dinner costs $11 or $10 with a canned food donation. All proceeds benefit the McFarland Food Pantry.

“It’s a way to connect art and give, which is really important, and this community really likes to work together towards a common goal,” Indian Mound Middle School art teacher Sandra Schoen said.

Since its beginning in 2012, Bowls For Hunger has always been a collaboration between all of the McFarland School District art teachers.

“I don’t know if we would do it any other way. We want this to be a K-12 and collective community event,” MHS art teacher Lindy Wiesmann said.

At the beginning of the event, guests make the hard choice of picking one bowl out of hundreds of options. Volunteers wash the handmade ceramic bowl and fill it with the guest’s choice of soup or chili donated by local businesses. Organizers try to include gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Dinner is served with a dinner roll and side salad, and beverages are provided.

When the meal is complete, guests can either take the bowl home as a keepsake or donate it back to the event. If the bowl is going home, volunteers rewash it.

“At the end of the event, I’d be shocked if we had 100 left at the end of the night,” Wiesmann said.

Students provide the night’s entertainment with singing, instruments and comedy acts. Bowls For Hunger also holds silent auctions and raffles.

On Tuesday and Friday evenings, volunteers gather at the McFarland High School art room to throw and glaze bowls.

“Honestly our volunteers really get into it, too,” MHS art teacher Susan Booth said. “They like to have the same jobs every year, and they just have so much fun when they’re at the event. It’s more than just a fundraiser, it’s a community event, too.”

“I think giving back to the community is always an important thing to do, and I know that this is so widespread,” volunteer Rita Tauer said. “It’s not just one person that can handle something like this. It takes a great deal of community effort to get this done.”

Volunteers design bowls however they like, from depictions of popular children’s characters to intricate patterns.

Volunteer glazer and Susan Booth’s daughter, Iliana Booth, said she gets most of her design ideas from her own head.

“I have a very swirly mind and I like to paint like that,” she said as she added layers of different colored glaze to a bowl.

She enjoys picking from the different bowl designs and getting to express her creativity.

“These kids have put their heart and soul into some of these things,” Tauer said. “It’s like taking home a little piece of them.”

Students at all four McFarland schools create each bowl by hand. Thirty students in the high school ceramics classes craft about 200 bowls by throwing clay and glazing.

Students in grades K-8 receive premade bowls to design and glaze with the help of Conrad Elvehjem Primary School art teacher Angela Kinstler-Reda, Waubesa Intermediate School LuAnn Russell-Salas and Schoen.

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