Clayworkers' Guild of Illinois A dedicated group of ceramic clay artists and artisans.

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McHenry County College ceramics students (Clayworkers' Guild of Illinois members) display some of the soup bowls that will be for sale at the college's first Empty Bowls fundraising event to fight hunger from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Commons area at MCC. Proceeds will benefit the Crystal Lake Food Pantry and the MCC Food Pantry. From left are Susan Clough of Crystal Lake and membership chair of Clayworkers' Guild of Illinois; Trish Vollkommer of Woodstock and president of Clayworkers' Guild of Illinois; and Mary O'Meara of Crystal Lake and member of Clayworkers' Guild of Illinois. Courtesy of McHenry County College

McHenry County College will host its first Empty Bowls fundraising event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6.

All community members are invited to the event, which will take place in the Commons area of Building B at McHenry County College, 8900 Route 14 in Crystal Lake.

Empty Bowls is an international grass-roots effort aimed to fight hunger. Attendees can select their favorite bowl from the many on display, then stay and enjoy a meal of soup and bread with others as a reminder of those who are in need. Proceeds will benefit the McHenry County College's Food Pantry and the Crystal Lake Food Pantry.

MCC ceramics students and the Clayworkers' Guild of Illinois has been working all year to make over 200 bowls for the event. Attendees will be able to select from a variety of unique, handmade bowls from artists with varying skill levels -- all who feel a responsibility to help those in need.

In 2017, 8 percent of McHenry County's population suffered from food insecurity, according to the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

"The idea is that this meal is the only meal some people get in a day," said event organizer Tracy Champion. "We hope to make this an annual event."

Champion, who works as a secretary in the Office of Student Development and Academic Affairs at MCC, thought of the idea to bring the Empty Bowls fundraising event to MCC after she saw a similar event at Oakton Community College last year.

"I have all these contacts at the college and I thought, 'I can do this,' Champion said. "Not many have heard of Empty Bowls, but there are a lot of people in this area who are willing to help others in need."

For many years the ceramic students at MCC and the Clayworkers' Guild of Illinois have been committed to this fundraising event, according to ceramics instructor Tom Vician, but this is the first year the ceramics department has collaborated with the MCC culinary department to participate in an Empty Bowls sit-down event hosted at the college.

"It is wonderful to see these two groups join their talents and commitment to this worthy fundraiser," Vician said.

The Food Shed Co-op will sell locally grown produce at the event, donating their proceeds. Additionally, four different musical groups will perform throughout the day.

Admission is free and open to all community members. Cost of each bowl is $30, which includes soup, bread and water; a ticket for only soup and bread is $10. The types of soup include chili, tomato basil, and lemon chicken with orzo and wild rice and will be made and served by MCC culinary students.

Volunteers are still needed for the event and can sign up through VolunteerSpot using For more information, contact Tracy Champion at (815) 455-8917 or

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