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The students of Riverview Charter School have hope for the hungry -- and hope that their recent efforts will have a lasting effect on those in Beaufort and around the world who really need help.
The school participated in a global grass-roots project called Empty Bowls, which raises awareness of world hunger and money to feed the hungry. Through the program, the kindergarten through fifth-graders created more than 200 ceramic bowls that were auctioned off at the school Nov. 19.
Between the auction and separate donations, the event raised about $3,000 for Lowcountry Food Bank, a local hunger relief organization.
Riverview fourth-grader Tommy Holloway, 10, enjoyed making his bowl, which was yellow and brown with black stripes.
"I learned that there are people in the world that are starving and that some people in the world can't even live off of $2 a day," he said.
In addition to making the bowls, the students studied the issue of hunger around the world. They planted and harvested at least 50 pounds of vegetables and herbs, and with the help of the school chef, Lisa Eckland, the students made a soup called "Hope for the Hungry Harvest Soup," an original recipe made with fresh ingredients including eggplant, peppers and bok choy.
Riverview Charter School director Eleanore Bednarsh said the students learned the concept of "farm to table" through the multifaceted service-learning initiative.
"They were so proud of it," she said.
Bednarsh said the students showed their families and friends the work they had done at the event held at Riverview.
Guests were served a small portion of soup to represent what some less fortunate people consider a feast. The display of bowls the students made represented bowls that sit empty around the world because people do not have food to fill them.
"It was beyond belief," Bednarsh said of the event. "It was so fabulous."
Bednarsh said not only did the entire school participate in the project, but the community did, as well.
A local baker made fresh rolls to go with the soup. At least 10 local artists contributed several bowls made of various materials, from conventional pottery to ones with gemstones and old vinyl records. Local grocery stores and farmers markets donated vegetables to help out with the soup.
"I really think that they learned that even as children if they pool their resources ... that they can work together and make a difference in the lives of people in need," Bednarsh said.