CATIWISSA RR - Despite the name of the event at Southern Columbia Area High School Sunday, bowls were indeed filled to the brim with soup. And, with the students raising money for Manna for the Many, even more people will have food on their plates.

Thirty-five members of the senior class and art club voluntarily hosted their first Empty Bowl fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday in the high school cafeteria and fed more than 200 people at $5 a bowl.

The aroma of chicken corn, butternut squash, ham and bean, chili and 18 other varieties of soup filled the cafeteria while the handcrafted bowls brought charm to the room with bright colors and creative designs.

The idea was presented by senior Jeff Rooney to senior English teacher Louise Baran, who organized the students and the event.

Baran explained she has been teaching the seniors about a character named Simon from the 1954 novel "The Lord of the Flies" by William Golding.

"Simon is a person who does the right thing for no reward or recognition. This (The Empty Bowl) is the right thing - donating three hours of your time to help people in need," she said.

Casie Baker, high school art teacher, and the art students from grades six through 12 took a month of preparation to handcraft, glaze and paint 250 clay bowls. Guests were asked to keep their selected bowl as a reminder of all the empty food bowls in the world.

"It's a great way for students to connect with the community. It's a fun and creative, and it also is going to a good cause," Baker said.

Each design was different; there was a pirate ship theme, an underwater sea creature theme, optical illusions and breast cancer awareness designs.

The soups were made by teachers, students, family members and cooks at Original Italian Pizza (OIP) in Elysburg and Pine Barn Inn in Danville. OIP also donated bread for 150 people.

A Chinese Auction gave participants the opportunity to win gift baskets and other prizes, some of which were donated by Reichart's Mardigras, in Danville, and Varano's Warehouse Inc., in Mount Carmel.

All proceeds will be donated to Manna for the Many, located at 103 E. Independence St., Shamokin. The organization serves more than 700 families in the area, and provide food and other staples at a rate of 15,000 items every three months.

Baran complimented senior class president Jasmine Olvany, of Elysburg, saying she worked hard on the event and took on a lot of responsibility.

Olvany, who noted she works at Knoebels Amusement Resort and Indian Hills Golf and Tennis Club, said she knows how to handle food from her two jobs.

"As people who are growing up, we (the seniors) need to reach out and help people. It's a skill you need if you plan to be a great person," she said.

In feeding themselves, students and participants feed others at the same time, she said.

Olvany admitted she was surprised with the turnout since there were only 20 tickets sold before the event, but was delighted when more than 200 people showed up.

Superintendent Paul Caputo said he appreciated the collaboration by the students and teachers who worked on the project.

"It's creating a positive message on an issue that not only impacts us globally, but around here as well," he said. Caputo had two bowls of ham and bean soup, a dish he says cannot be avoided at an event like this.

"It was excellent. I don't know who the cook was, but they did a great job," he said.