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Fundraiser serves up a good cause

WEBUTUCK — Last week some sixth- and seventh-graders served up lunch for teachers and staff in the district buildings. And no, it wasn’t with the hope that the teachers might give their grades a nudge in the right direction.

The event was called the Empty Bowls Fundraiser, and students in the Community Service Club were raising money for Doctors Without Borders, an international group of doctors who work in impoverished and war-torn countries around the word to provide medical care to people in need. The money given to Doctors Without Borders from the Empty Bowls event will buy Plumpy’nut, a peanut-based food that helps malnourished infants gain weight.

The Community Service Club is organized by Erin Jenkins, who works at the North East Community Center (NECC) in Millerton. With help from technology teacher John Roccanova, as well as numerous other community members, the club was able to put on a successful event.

Ten to 12 students in the club worked on the event for a few weeks, starting with the bowls themselves. With help from ceramics teacher Teresa Pelligrini, the students created bowls for the project. The club also had help from local potters Diane Shapira, Karen Kisslinger, Paul Chaleff and Cornwall Bridge Pottery, which donated bowls for the event.

For $15, teachers bought a bowl and a cup of soup last Friday, April 3, with their choice of chicken noodle or minestrone  soup made by members of the club the previous day.

Jacob Kitchen, 11, who has been in the Community Service Club for about a month, said that cooking the soup was a lot of fun, and told a story about a mix-up in the amount of oregano that had to be added to the mix. Needless to say, several cups of oregano had to be scooped off the top of the soup.

Christian Ball, 11, has been in the club for about a year now, and said that he really enjoys all the different activities they do, from woodworking and tae kwon do to art.

“It’s great,” he said. “You get to do a lot of stuff and a lot of hands-on activities.”

The club has participated in Toys for Tots, as well as the Millerton pancake breakfasts at the firehouse. Both Ball and Kitchen said they were definitely going to stay in the club.

This is the third year the Empty Bowls fundraiser has been held. It was estimated that approximately 75 bowls of soup were served. Much of the food was donated by McEnroe’s Organic Farm on Route 22, and the rest was donated by the students and the North East Community Center.

“Community service is a good way for kids to spend their time,” Jenkins said. “And at this age they’re more willing to do things that adults suggest to them.”

Sixth-grade teacher Margaret Brizzie said the soup was excellent, and the program isn’t too shabby either.

“This year is the largest group of kids I’ve seen,” she said, saying that it got people talking about the club and the community outreach it provides. “It also gives us a chance to participate. It makes everybody feel good, and it’s always a big hit.”

Anyone interested in joining the Community Service Club can contact Jenkins at the North East Community Center (518-789-4259) or pick up a registration form, which is available in the middle school office.

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