Letter to the editor

March 28, 2010

Thanks to Burleigh Manor students
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the eighth-graders at Burleigh Manor Middle School in Ellicott City for sponsoring a fundraiser to help end hunger in Howard County. On March 5, 2010, the students held an Empty Bowls event whereby each attendee paid $12 for one of three dinner entrees (chili, stir-fried rice, or macaroni and cheese) as well as a roll, beverage and dessert.

While the dinner entree may have been typical, the quantity served was not. Betty Disney, a teacher at Burleigh Manor who chaperoned the entire process, wanted the participants to understand the struggle of not having enugh to eat or having to go hungry.

The students went one step further; they presented the ceramic bowls, which they had made, to the attendees as a gift to take home. The bowl would serve as a reminder of their power to make a difference in the community.

The students' fundraiser was modeled after a program John Hartom, an art teacher in Michigan, started in 1990. He came up with the idea of artists creating bowls in which to serve meals and donating the proceeds to charitable organizations that fight hunger.

Burleigh Manor's event raised close to $4,000, which was donated to the Howard County Food Bank. In the past eight months, the Food Bank has assisted more than 9,600 individuals and distributed more than 189,000 pounds of food to those in need. Community Action Council, which administers the Food Bank, also provides Head Start, energy and housing assistance to low-income families residing in Howard County.

We are thankful to our teachers and the educational system that allows our youth to be responsive to the distress of their neighbors, friends, and sadly, at times, their classmates. It's our children's energy and pure desire to give without any expectation to receive anything in return which was cultivated by a nurturing and learning environment. Thank you.

- Bita Dayhoff, president, Community Action Council of Howard County

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