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Empty Bowl Project raises record donation for Statesboro Food Bank

A record $3,930 was raised for the Statesboro Food Bank during Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art’s annual chili bowl sale on Thursday, Oct. 18. Hundreds of handcrafted bowls were sold in just three hours during the sale, held in conjunction with the Department’s Empty Bowl Project.

“The sale was a great success,” said Project Coordinator and Ceramics Professor Jeff Schmuki. “This is the largest amount that this event has ever raised, and I am proud of the students for their hard work.”

The annual chili bowl sale took place at the Fielding S. Russell Union Rotunda on Georgia Southern’s campus. Handmade bowls were filled with chili and sold for a $10 donation. The patrons kept the bowls as a reminder of those in need in Statesboro and Bulloch County. The sale was a part of the Department of Art’s Empty Bowl Project, through which ceramic students prepared nearly 20 bowls each during the weeks leading up to the sale. The ceramic studio also opened to the community to demonstrate and teach the art of throwing bowls.

“This project is about those less fortunate, and the larger picture is that it takes the community coming together to make a difference and solve issues like hunger,” said Schmuki.

Operations Director of the Statesboro Food Bank Joe Bill Brannon accepted the donation check from the students this week.

“This is, I believe, the largest single donation ever made to the Statesboro Food Bank,” Brannon said. “This money is a big deal for us!”

Brannon explained that monetary donations to the food bank have decreased this year, while the need for its services has continued to rise.

“We have families that were able to donate to us last year, that are now in financial constraints and in need our services this year,” he said.

The money raised by the Empty Bowl Project will purchase more than 18,000 cans of food, which according to Brannon is nearly a two-month supply for the Food Bank.

“This is a much needed donation,” he said.

The Statesboro Food Bank is the largest food supplier in this area. Brannon explained that it even assists surrounding counties in locating food donations when that county’s supplies are running low. He attributes much of the continued success and sustainability of the Statesboro Food Bank to Georgia Southern University.

“Not another county near us can come close to the what we have at the Statesboro Food Bank and much of that is thanks to Georgia Southern University,” he said.

Brannon explained that not only the economic impact of the University, but also the generosity of the students and faculty with both their time and donations of canned food help drive the food bank.

For more information about the Statesboro Food Bank or to donate call (912) 489-3663 or email Brannon at

The 2012 Empty Bowl Project was sponsored in part by Statesboro Lions Club and Georgia Southern University’s Catering Services.

The Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art at Georgia Southern University is committed to offering quality undergraduate and graduate degree programs that prepare students to become professional artists, designers, art historians and industry executives. An accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the Department offers a comprehensive curriculum encompassing the practical, theoretical and historical aspects of the visual arts. For more information about the department, please visit


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