Many families here in Pittsburg are hit hard with food insecurities and not able to afford groceries enough to feed families and even themselves. Places like Wesley House and Lord’s Diner help provide food, but they cannot do it all themselves.
Mayumi Kiefer, assistant professor of art, is in her first academic year here at PSU, and started Artists for Hunger back in 2010 when she was in undergrad at Ohio State University. An event titled “The Empty Bowl” is where she got her inspiration to begin Artists Against Hunger.
“The empty bowl represents an empty stomach,” Kiefer said. “They pick up (a bowl) and donate money, and before they leave they are able to fill up their bowl with various foods such as soup, pizza, wings, etc, getting to eat before they go home.”
Artists against hunger was an event hosted where there were many bowls displayed for people to choose from with various local restaurant food coupons inside. The bowls did not cost anything, they were only expecting donations on the behalf of those bowls, and with the bowl the buyer got the benefit of the coupons.
All of the bowls displayed were made by PSU students in Ceramics 1 during the fall semester, as well as other local artists, art teachers, and even students from Pittsburg High School. They had two events back in the fall that allowed other students not in ceramics as well as local artists to come and donate their time to make bowls to be donated to the event.
“It was a great time having two events to make these bowls…some people even came out both days to support our cause and even local artists donated ones they had already made,” Kiefer said.
For this year’s event, all donations are going to the Wesley house, which is a shelter here in Pittsburg that serves breakfast and lunch as well as having a food pantry. As well as the Wesley house, Artists Against Hunger will be donating some to the Gorilla Pantry here on campus, to help give back to the students.
“For me, it is important that students aren’t hungry,” Kiefer said. “When I worked at a public school back in Ohio, when students were only eating school lunch and went hungry, they couldn’t focus. They did not feel comfortable which made it even harder to focus.”
As well as the money made from the bowls, Artists for Hunger had a donation table for canned goods, non-perishable foods and hygiene products. Dillons, Walmart and a local church helped give lists and donations for people to bring in that will later be donated directly to the homeless to provide that food as well as hygiene products to give a better clean feeling to someone who does not normally have access to those products.
Keifer is very glad she got to bring this event to PSU, and has got to have great bonding experience with her students and other local artists and high school students and teachers to help connect and bond over a shared interest to help the less fortunate.
“It was great to see so many smiling faces and for them to learn from each other and even I myself learned from them, especially being new to the area,” Kiefer said.
Kiefer was very glad to be able to bring what she is passionate about to PSU and hopes to continue serving the community and PSU with this event for years to come.