‘Symbol of Hope’ elevates food bank thanks to EHS Creative Hearts

One of Edwardsville High School’s newer after-school clubs has just completed its first community project.

The EHS Creative Hearts Art Club has partnered with the St. Louis Area Food Bank to create approximately 25 bowls for the Empty Bowls Project. The student-made bowls will be on sale at the Ameren Missouri Festival of Lights Saturday at Kiener Plaza Park at the Food on the Move Truck exhibit at the St. Louis area food bank.

The students started making the bowls on November 2. The bowls are all handmade by the students, starting with clay clip pots and finished with several coats of glaze for color. On Tuesday, members of the St. Louis Area Food Bank picked up the donated bowls and spoke to students about the St. Louis Area Food Bank and the Empty Bowls Project. The project provides participants with a creative outlet while attracting attention and support for the food bank.

St. Louis area food bank philanthropy coordinator Olivia Klockenkemper said that while the Empty Bowls project is a national initiative, this is the first time the food bank has participated.

“Each bowl is handcrafted and can be microwaved, heated, you can eat in – so there are many uses for these bowls. They’re not just pretty, ”Klockenkemper said. “But the bowl is just there to symbolize that there is someone else with an empty bowl. And it’s more of a symbol of hope, as you bought this bowl that you donated to the St. Louis area food bank.

The bowls will be priced between $ 10 and $ 25 each to raise funds for the St. Louis area food bank. According to Klockenkemper, the food bank can donate four meals for every dollar donated.

“So we can really stretch that dollar,” she said.

The St. Louis Area Food Bank serves 26 counties in Illinois and Missouri.

“One in six people here in our region struggle to get the food they need to be healthy and live long and healthy lives,” Marketing and Communications Director Michelle Madaras said Tuesday. “Your work here today will help us make sure we have the money to be able to support the food bank to provide food to people in our area. “

Madaras said supply chain issues and other complications have resulted in a higher need than before the pandemic. The St. Louis area food bank is currently in its donation season which began on November 1 and will run until mid-January. Giving season is made up of several different campaigns, one of which is their Food on the Move truck at the Festival of Lights this weekend.

According to Madaras, the Food on the Move truck is a grocery store on wheels where people can find the items they need. At the Festival of Lights, the truck will be decorated for several different holidays and will have recipes for each holiday to show what the St. Louis area food bank can provide. They will also sell the donated bowls.

“We ask people to give what they can this time of year to help others celebrate whatever their vacation is,” Madaras said. “Whether it’s if you have money you can donate, if you have food you can donate, or if you can donate bowls.

“The community has continued to escalate time and time again, especially during the pandemic. And I think that’s just another way of seeing the community stepping in to support the neighbors here who are struggling with food insecurity.

The bowls that will be sold to the Food on the Move truck are all made by local students. Other local schools involved in the Empty Bowls initiative include Lindbergh High School, Lewis and Clark Community College, Parkway West, Crossroads, MICDS, St. Joseph’s Academy, and Kirkwood High School.

This event marks Creative Hearts’ first, but not the last, community project. Club godmother Cassie Flynn said she first started the club to give students an outlet for art after school.

“I’m a former EHS student, never played any sport or instrument,” Flynn said. “I know firsthand how isolated it can be in this big place when you’re not an athlete. That being said, I have several students who are truly great artists and athletes.

The first meeting of Creative Hearts took place in September and around 40 students attended.

“I was a little overwhelmed with what I could do with so many students at once,” Flynn said. Since then, the club has worked hard to establish its identity and set goals like the recent community project. Student Jaidyn Miles created a logo for the club and the group chose the slogan “Inspire Creativity, Exhale Possibilities”. However, the club is not limited to having a creative outlet.

“It was very important for me to let the students know that this is not an open studio experience,” said Flynn. “I want our works of art to be useful and productive. “

Emma Knox, a junior at the club, said she initially joined the Creative Hearts Art Club because she was involved in an art club in college and was disappointed to find there had no art club when she entered high school.

“When they announced it, I was really excited because they actually had something,” Knox said. “And I really wanted to get involved in the community with art because I do a lot of art for myself alone, but ultimately I want to share my art with the school and with the community and other people.”

Knox said she prefers ink on paper and 2D artwork. This community project also gives young artists the opportunity to try out different mediums.

“Ceramics are quite out of my field, I hadn’t even glazed a bowl before. But it’s really fun, I liked it, ”Knox said.

Future plans for the club include making and selling cards and ceramics for sale to staff and students, and organizing fundraising and community engagement events.

The club’s next event will be a Poppin Paint Night for students on December 3rd. The club will be hosting a step-by-step painting event for 30 EHS students, led by a member of the Creative Hearts club. Tickets cost $ 20 and students will receive a canvas and all the materials needed to create a winter landscape. There will also be snacks and drinks. Space is limited.