Empty Bowls Fill a Need

—Cathy Zhou ‘21

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 11th, St. Mark’s hosted its annual Empty Bowls Sale in the cloisters to raise money for fighting hunger in the world. Led by ceramics teacher Mrs. Belt and her students, the sale successfully raised over $900 dollars for local organizations including the Southborough Food Pantry and the Worcester Country Foodbank. Coinciding with the Reunion Weekend, Spring Trustees Meeting, and Spring Groton Games, the event was highly supported by students, faculties, parents, Alumni, and Trustees.

St. Mark’s first Empty Bowls Sale was initiated by student Lucy Grogan in 2005. Since then, the sale is held annually. According to the organizer of the event, Mrs. Belt, the fundraiser has grown in student involvement, numbers of bowls produced, and interest of the community each year. $900 in raised money was a particular success this year, with a $200 increase from last year.

In 2019, more than 100 ceramics pieces were put up for the sale. These pieces include bowls, cups, mugs, and plates of various colors, shapes, and sizes. Some were coated by shiny glaze or vibrant colors, and others adopted plain colors with different patterns on the outside and curvy shapes. In addition to purchasing delicate hand-made bowls, buyers could also enjoy ice-cream in flavors of vanilla, cookie dough, and mint chocolate chip from Uhlman’s on a sunny afternoon. “The ceramics bowls made Uhlman’s ice-cream taste even better,” said Clara Hua’21.


According to Mrs. Belt, the sources of this year’s pottery donation were especially diverse. Apart from donations from her Ceramics I and Ceramics II classes, the Empty Bowls Sale also received vases from faculty members, faculty families, and the Clay Club, featuring bowls from Mrs. Belt, Ms. Killeen, Ms. Michelson, Ms. Kiely, and eight pieces from Mrs. Belt’s son, Machias.

This event was much more than an opportunity for the community members to showcase their art, however. While describing her experience in making bowls for the sale, ceramics enthusiast Anni Zhang’21 said, “there’s a layer to the fun that’s added to it when I know there’s a purpose. All my bowls add up to something bigger, something meaningful. I am proud that I could make a difference with my passion for ceramics.”

Volunteers and organizers of this event include Stephanie Moon’19, Zenia Alaron’19, Laura Sabino’20, Bannon Jones’21, Anni Zhang’21, Cathy Zhou’21, Nashua Poreda’22, Jocelyn Cote’22, and Maya Scully’22. Bannon, who is also a passionate ceramicist, talks about her experience in volunteering at this event: “It’s really fun to see all the artwork from different people even if some of them have literally never done pottery before,” she said, “and I loved helping to scoop ice cream and just telling people about the event.”