Critical Intervention Project: Soup For The Soul
A community event to battle hunger through the arts
Soup For The Soul
A community event to battle hunger through the arts
Art can bring about social change in the world and bring people together. In this project art students will raise money for the critical issue of hunger and poverty, which has increased locally and regionally since the economic downturn.
Over the past few weeks, I have planned and implemented an educational workshop and a civic fundraising event called Soup For The Soul. The goal was to create 100 bowls with my Pottery I students, and sell them for $10 each, in order to raise $1000. The funds would be for a local food pantry, The Upper Cape Helping Hands, and an emergency fund at our school for needy students, called The Falcon Fund. Additional goals of the event are to create positive relationships between the school system and citizens of the community. I especially wanted to strengthen bonds between townspeople and my students. Too often teenagers are viewed in a bad light, but I wanted community members to see how good these kids really are. It benefits the school to have the tax-paying citizens see the students giving back as well. My personal goals with the project also provided opportunities for multi-generational workshops for students, faculty, and parents to create art together. Finally, I wanted to get the art department recognized and respected by administration and colleagues.
1. “Create Together” workshops- plan one evening and one Saturday morning a few days later to permit for creating the bowls, drying a few days, and then glazing. This gave the teachers and parents a chance to be “taught” by the students various methods to make a pottery bowl that would be donated for the project. It was an intergenerational event which brought the joy of art-making to folks who hadn’t been able to do so before, or at least for many years. It also empowered the students to mentor the adults in their lives.
2. Often restaurants and local businesses are requested to donate money or gift certificates by many organizations. By asking local restaurants to donate 35 servings of their specialty soup to be showcased at this community event, it meant they were helping the high school, the Food Pantry and the Falcon Fund. It allowed people to sample their delicious soups and hopefully become new clients. We put signs in front of the soups, and everywhere during the event stating their names as sponsors. We made sure each restaurant was mentioned and thanked by name in the newspaper, as well as in a card.
3. Another plan was to help students realize that the art they make can be sold, and it can have a value to others, both monetary and emotional. I also wanted them to understand that despite their age they can still do things to help others and make a difference in the world. One way they could do it this is through their art.
-Use of cafeteria kitchen, supplies.
-Local restaurants willing to participate by donating soup.
-Volunteers to cook, set up, clean up, and pick up soups from restaurants.
-Clay, glazes, kiln, forms, and pottery supplies.
I am proud to say that we earned $1,048 total sales, and are giving $500 to the Upper Cape Helping Hands Food Pantry, and $500 to the Falcon Fund for needy students. The event had 87 attendees, which was a great turnout for a first time event with minimal advertising. A few teachers who were unable to attend emailed to purchase one of the remaining bowls the next day. The superintendent, two school committee members, and the principal all attended and enjoyed the event, and even sent me letters of appreciation. The local newspaper did a full page story, with photos of families, faculty, and community members selecting their bowls, being served soup by students, enjoying their soup, and even washing out their bowls in the bubbly water. This event was so well received and enjoyed, that next year we plan on doing it again but perhaps we will try it with 200 Bowls!!!!
The following is a step by step outline for running the Soup For The Soul event:
Soup For The Soul
A Creative, Educational, Fun Civic Event- Raising Funds for the Hungry and Needy in Our Community
Step 1- 100 Bowls
Pottery 1 students discuss and set a goal of creating 100 handmade bowls as a class. Any method could be used; coil, form, slab, and wheel-thrown. Goal is to sell 100 bowls for $10 each, to raise $1,000 to give to two charities. The first is the Upper Cape Helping Hands Food Pantry, and other was for the Falcon Fund (our school’s emergency fund for needy students).
Step 2- “Create Together” night
Parents/teachers/school staff and other community invited for one evening and one Saturday to make bowls for the event. Students then act as mentors to the visitors.
Step 3- Contact and make arrangements with Resources/Volunteers:
- School Cafeteria for permissions to use kitchen, and serving dishes.
- Principal permissions/ Complete Building Use paperwork for all dates.
- Music Teachers- coordinate date to run on the same evening as their concert to boost attendance (Have student musicians play in an ensemble or quartet during the event to add elegance, or play Pandora music on laptop with speakers.)
- Head of Food Services- Request donation of rolls, butter, napkins, spoons, plastic cups.
- Contact five-seven high end restaurants to request participation and donation of soups.
- Ask Culinary Teacher if students could make the desserts for the event, and heat up the soups on the night of the event.
- School Secretary collected reservations and sold tickets.
- Driver/volunteer to pick up the soups the night before, or the afternoon of, the event.
- Meet with Advisor/Teacher in charge of National Honor Society for volunteer servers.
- National Honor Art Society – ask for volunteer helpers to serve, set up or clean up after.
Things To Do:
- Create posters, copy and distribute to students and around community.
- Contact town newspaper for photographer to cover event.
- Set up laptop computer & speakers with fun, happy dinner music (i.e.Van Morrison).
- Buy from grocery store : Oyster crackers, 2 cans Lemonade mix. Ask for donation of 100
grocery bags for people to take bags home in.
- Handwash all 100 bowls before the event so they can be eaten from(!).
To Set Up Event:
- Set tables with tablecloths, make lemonade and put in large thermal container with spout, fill pitchers with ice water for each table.
- Set long banquet table, with hot plate coils, soup tureens, rolls, butter, oyster crackers, and ladles.
- Set up art table with other student projects for sale (for extra money).
- Put up signs on doors and arrows to lead attendees to the event.
- Driver picks up soups from all restaurants- some that afternoon, some the night before the event. Culinary arts teacher and students heat them up in her classroom and wheel them down when ready.
- Set up all 100 bowls on long tables. Attendees enter and pay, or turn in pre-purchased tickets. We had 87 attendees. (Surprisingly- have volunteers prevent people from touching bowls in middle while selecting bowls since they have to be eaten out of.)
- Set up bowl washing station. (Hot soapy water for attendees to dip bowls in, a roll of paper towels, and stack of plastic bags to take the bowls home in.) This bubbly water was a BIG hit with the little kids, by the way!
- Greet attendees and direct them to choose a bowl and go up to the banquet table.
- Oversee overall event: keep music going, and keep food tables, art tables, and ticket tables going smoothly.
- Take photos of students serving, selling and interacting with community members. Take photos of attendees visiting one another, enjoying the soup, selecting their bowls.
- Be sure to sit for a few moments and enjoy a bowl of soup as well, and enjoy the happy community atmosphere.
- Clean up and put cafeteria back to normal.
- Wash soup pots and serving dishes and return to proper owners (some from school cafeteria, some from culinary class, and some from restaurants) and must be given back. Tape name labels on.
- Put away all leftover food. Note: The next day the Culinary teacher heated up soup in the following days and sold it to teachers for lunch for $1 a bowl, which also went into the fund, but I also had her keep some to cover her food expenses for the desserts.
- Contact newspapers with details, photos, and final totals of money earned.
- Write thank you notes to all volunteers and hand-deliver them to the restaurants that participated.
What I would do differently:
- Sell additional raffle tickets to folks at the event for $2- $5 each for some grand prizes (really special pottery)
- Make a definite job list with times for the student helpers.
- Have more help washing the bowls out before the event so people could eat from them (my husband and I did 85 between us!).
- Have pottery 2 students create bowls for the sale as well. The pottery one students bowls were so varied in their skills that some people got a beautiful work of art, and some people got one that was more….”rustic”.
- Sell more tickets in advance
- Post event on my social networking sites, including the food pantry’s facebook page, and the school website.
- Begin bowl-making earlier in the semester. By starting between Thanksgiving and Christmas, this was not the most “productive” time at school. We ended up doing the bulk of the work during the first two-three weeks of January.
- Make a list of the jobs and a specific time-frame for each volunteer.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this project, as much as I enjoyed doing it. It was extremely comprehensive and I actually did the critical intervention project in addition to just writing about it and creating the Powerpoint summary for my graduate course. I held the intergenerational workshop for one evening and one Saturday, planned and implemented the actual evening event, while continuing the rest of the coursework. There were so many details to bring together for the event, that it was a lot like planning a wedding- arranging music, feeding close to 100 people, inviting guests and arranging vendors and volunteers. However, for a wedding you don’t usually need to MAKE the dishes for the event as well!
Carroll, L. (2009) Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Mashpee Food Pantry. Retrieved January 16, 2012, from http://www.uppercapehelpinghands.org/
Anderson, M. (2011). Cape Cod Hunger Network. News. Retrieved January 18, 2012, from http://www.capecodhungernetwork.org/
Child Nutrition Outreach Program. Project Bread. (2012). Retrieved January 18, 2012, from http://meals4kids.org/
The Point With Mindy Todd, The Cape and Islands NPR Station. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://www.wgbh.org/programs/The-Point-298/episodes/Hunger-on-Cape-Cod-19772
See Photos below of this event: