LA GRANGE PARK – While researching for last year's Empty Bowls event, Curt Hansman learned that 11 percent of residents in Lyons Township get food from local food pantries.
"That's pretty amazing in such an affluent community," she said.
With help from other local organizations, Hansman and her eight co-owners at Village Potters, 333 N. La Grange Road, are trying to attack a worldwide problem by starting local.
On May 9, Village Potters will host its second annual Empty Bowls event, a local take on a grassroots effort that started in Ann Arbor, Mich., and has spread to at least a dozen other countries.
Participants start at Village Potters' studio, where they can buy one of more than 700 handmade bowls for $20. They can then visit booths from 23 local businesses and organizations to fill their bowls with treats. All bowls are made by members of Village Potters or other community members.
At other Empy Bowls events, guests receive a meal of bread and soup, served in a handcrafted bowl, in exchange for a cash donation. They are asked to keep their bowls as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world, according to Empty Bowls' website.
"In La Grange... we are attempting to make the point that the solution to this problem of hunger in our local areas is about the community coming together," Hansman said. "The business organizations, the educational organizations, the artistic organizations, the religious organizations: All of us have to work together."
Hansman said that because of the participation of local organizations, 100 percent of donations will go to four local food pantries.
The event raised more than $7,000 last year, and Hansman said she hopes it will raise even more this year.
"We know that hunger is a worldwide problem," she said. "We know that there is a need in many locations in the world. But there's also a need in our own community ... If everybody solves a bunch of small problems, we may find a solution to the large problems."