Empty bowls fill need


Staff Writer

MILFORD – You don’t see them holding out their bowls like Oliver Twist asking for more, but they are hungry.

Children in every town around here live in families that have trouble finding enough money to buy food. In the summer, it’s worse, because they aren’t getting free and reduced-priced school lunches.

That’s why Share Outreach is working to make sure there are sufficient supplies of bread, peanut butter, pasta, fruits and vegetables, and all of the other supplies families need.

On Sunday, April 19, Share will hold an Empty Bowls supper from 4-7 p.m. in the newly refurbished Share Community Hall.

Different kinds of soups, bread and beverages will be served by Share board members and staff, and everyone can leave with their bowl.

The event was inspired by Mont Vernon Village School art teacher Katrina Reid. Last year, her students made pottery bowls they sold at the town Spring Gala and then they gave the money to Share.

This year they are doing it again, this time for the Empty Bowls event.

They’re joined by art students in Souhegan High School and Amherst Middle School.

How many local children are eligible for free and reduced price lunches?

By the numbers

According to statistics from the New Hampshire Department of Education, there are a total of 266 eligible children in the six Bedford schools.

There are 30 eligible boys and girls in Amherst’s Clark-Wilkins, the elementary schools, 57 in the middle school and 50 at Souhegan High School.

In all of Milford’s schools, there are 503, or more than 1 in 5, who get help paying for lunches.

At Mont Vernon Village School, there are 29.

Parents of those children “will need to provide at least lunch (and in some cases breakfast) for them during the summer,” Share Director Chris Janson said in an email.

“While our schools do not have the numbers that you see in Nashua or Manchester, any number is too big. Even Amherst (K-8) has 90 kids. That’s a lot to feed for the summer,” Janson wrote.

For the third year, Share will be part of a summer food drop from the New Hampshire Food Bank sponsored by Stop & Shop.

Prepacked boxes

Share drops off prepacked boxes to the Souhegan Valley Boys & Girls Club to make sure kids who are part of their summer program can take advantage of it – regardless of whether they’re Share clients.

Each box will have items such as peanut butter, jelly, canned tuna and chicken, canned soups, vegetables, pasta and sauce, and more, including breakfast items.

Tickets for the Empty Bowls supper will be available at the door for $20 per person or $50 per family. All proceeds from the event help Share, which serves families in Brookline, Milford, Amherst and Mont Vernon, stock its food pantry.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

Kathy Cleveland