Around Amherst: Bowls being made for the Empty Bowls Dinner

  • Freshly thrown bowls line the table at Tiffany Hilton's pottery studio Oct. 14, 2017 during a bowl-making marathon in the Florence Arts & Industry Building to benefit the Amherst Survival Center's Empty Bowls Dinner fundraiser. Hilton made a commitment to donate some 200 handmade bowls for the dinner, held in March. She opened her studio on both Saturday and Sunday for whoever wanted to help create the bowls. "I feel lucky to be in the position to share my skills and resources with a whole new group of people," said Hilton. "This is what I have to give back." Of the community effort, she said "When I saw all six wheels going at once with six beautiful bowls happening, I thought, 'It doesn't get better than this.'" GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, March 18, 2019

AMHERST — More than 500 bowls by 50 ceramic artists, including Amherst Regional High School students, professionals and hobbyists, are being made for the Amherst Survival Center’s biggest annual fundraiser, the Empty Bowls Dinner.

Monday’s event, which was first held in 2009, will again take place at The Pub, 15 East Pleasant St., from 4 to 8 p.m.

“The bowl is a very powerful reminder that there are many people in our community who face an empty bowl every day,” said local potter Bob Woo, a member of the Asparagus Valley Potters Guild.

Survival Center Executive Director Lev Ben-Ezra said the dinner remains an opportunity for people to connect with the center’s mission.

“It brings artists and restaurants and food lovers and do-gooders together to address the completely curable problem of hunger in our community,” Ben-Ezra said.

Guests select a bowl and then dine on soups, bread and salad donated by local restaurants and served by local celebrities, including state Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, and Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan.

Tickets are $40, sold online at www.amherstsurvival.org/emptybowls or in person at AJ Hastings on South Pleasant Street and The Pub. Tickets without bowls are available for $30 per person. Tickets are also available at the door.

At the event, guests can also buy raffle tickets for one of three bowls made by contemporary glass artist Josh Simpson. A tabletop “tip jar” will be matched by a donor.

International Women’s Day

Photographs of the many women who run Amherst’s town government and public services were featured on the town’s social media feeds throughout the day on March 8.

Brianna Sunryd, the town’s communications manager, took photographs of 59 women, including eight of the nine female councilors on the first-ever Town Council, and used the hashtag SheLeadsAmherst as she posted them.

“We got a lot of good, positive feedback from the community,” Sunryd said.

The photos show how many women serve in roles and the variety of work they do in town.

Sunryd said the photos also help to mark March as Women’s History Month. She said she hopes to get more participation next year, as the town has 93 part- and full-time women employees, and Sunryd wasn’t able to photograph all, including many in the police and fire and departments and the Department of Public Works.

Breakfast for children

School and town officials recently marked the implementation of the pilot “Breakfast in the Classroom” at the four elementary schools in Amherst and Pelham as part of National School Breakfast Week.

At Fort River Elementary School March 8, state Rep. Mindy Domb, D-Amherst, joined by members of the Town Council and School Committee, served breakfast to second-graders and then read a story to the students.

In Amherst, nearly one-third of students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. Having access to school breakfast is associated with better health and academic outcomes for all students.

Project Bread, an anti-hunger organization, partners with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for the program. Project Bread President Erin McAleer said children thrive and learn when well fed.

“Research has shown time and time again that school breakfast not only sets students up for academic success, but also improves health outcomes,” McAleer said.

“Every child should have access to breakfast in school and in the classroom and should not have to decide between playing and eating,” Domb said.

Project Bread and the school district will expand the school breakfast program over the coming year and introduce healthier menu items.

“Our goal is to ensure that every student who walks through our doors has access to a healthy breakfast that will help fuel their academic achievement, growth, and overall well-being,” said Sasha Palmer, school nutrition director for the district.

Cuppa Joe with Paul

Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson is joining Town Manager Paul Bockelman at the Atkins Farm flagship, 1150 West St., from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Friday for the periodic Cuppa Joe with Paul event.

Residents are invited to drop in to ask questions and offer comments about town affairs, as well as to have breakfast or a cup of coffee with the Amherst officials.

Walk for a New Spring

An annual initiative to build peace and community locally, nationally and across the world begins Wednesday at the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett, 100 Cave Hill Road.

The Walk for a New Spring, which lasts until April 9 when walkers get to Washington, D.C. is being held for the 18th time. This year’s theme is “Shared Security: Fearlessly Facing the Future.”

The kick off event, a potluck dinner, will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Unitarian Universalist Society, 121 North Pleasant St., in Amherst, with a 7 p.m. community circle. 

Garden presentation

“The Historic Home Garden: Preservation and Landscape” is the title of a talk by landscape architect Martha Lyon on Monday.

Lyon will be talking at the Amherst Woman’s Club, 35 Triangle St., beginning at 1:30 p.m.

The free event will include refreshments at the end.


MONDAY: Jones Library Budget Committee, 9:05 a.m., Goodwin Room, Jones Library; Town Council, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

TUESDAY: Bylaw Review Committee, 2 p.m., and Dog Park Task Force, 6 First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall.

WEDNESDAY: Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

THURSDAY: Board of Assessors, 11 a.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall.