For more than 30 years, Jim Hunt has always taught his students the importance of giving back.
An art teacher for 34 years, Hunt has spent the last nine helping to not only mold young students into artists, but teaching them the importance of helping people.
“For those that have an artistic ability, it’s kind of your responsibility to give back,” he said.
Thursday, his Vandora Elementary 4th grade art students will do just that.
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Hunt has adapted the Empty Bowls project and his students will help donate the food they receive to Garner Area Ministries.
The Empty Bowls program is an international outreach, started by a teacher named John Harton. The concept was to invite guests to a simple meal of soup and bread. In exchange for a cash donation, guests are asked to keep a bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world.
Hunt tweaked it a bit and created his own project.
Instead of inviting guests for soup, Hunt asks members of the community to bring in 20 non-perishable items. In exchange, they will get a bowl that his 4th grade students make. The bowls serve as a reminder that the recipient gave back to the community. The bowls are usually ceramic bowls, but this year they have been made with clay. This is the ninth year his art club has done the project.
Hunt led it at his previous school Lincoln Heights in Fuquay-Varina before arriving at Vandora Springs.
Hunt said the event has been well supported in the past. Some come every year and have a collections of bowls. On average the event brings 2,000 food items, he said
The club has created about 100 bowls, made with clay. In the past they have made ceramic bowls. During the three-month project, students stay after school once a week and some times will come on a Saturday to finish.
“The kids enjoy what they do and I think they understand the big picture of what they are doing,” Hunt said. “They come together for a common cause. To help people in the community and to fight hunger.
According to ncfoodbanks.org, North Carolina has one the highest percentages in the U.S. of children under 18 years of age who are food insecure on a regular basis. About 1 in 4 children are food-insecure or lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
“You think, ‘Wow that is happening here and in our country,’ and this is another way we can reach out to people and make a difference,” Hunt said.
Hunt said the most rewarding part about giving to the Garner Area Ministries, is not knowing who you’re helping out.
Just knowing that you’re helping someone, he said.