Head of School Blog

Empty Bowls: Because Hunger Isn’t Going Away

Jill Singleton | Volume: 5 Issue: 24 | April 13, 2016
When I began my service as Head of School at All Saints, another woman, who would later become my friend, was also starting a new job just a few blocks away from here – Jaclyn Cherubini, Director of the Hoboken Homeless Shelter. Over the years Jaclyn has been instrumental in helping our school in its efforts to educate our students about the problems of hunger and homelessness in our community, and more importantly, what we can do to help make a difference.

“When I started here in the Fall of 2004, I took a moment to calculate our services since 1982 & then I continued doing so annually,” Jaclyn explained.  “I think it’s noteworthy that we served fewer than 55,000 meals in 2005, almost doubled that in 2010, and then almost tripled that number in 2012.”

And the demand keeps rising. In 2015, almost 182,000 meals were served at the shelter. “I’m of two minds about these kinds of mile markers,” Jaclyn said. “I’m saddened by the fact that so many people are suffering with the horrible decision of whether or to pay their rent or buy food for their family, but I’m impressed that we are able to meet this demand thanks to the generous support of our community through amazing events like Empty Bowls!”

On April 23, All Saints will celebrate its 12th Annual Empty Bowls event, an all-you-can-eat cereal café complete with student and faculty entertainment that runs from 8:30-11:30am in the church. I’m proud to say that Empty Bowls is one of our school’s most attended events – everyone in our community comes out to have breakfast and to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and friends who are struggling with hunger and homelessness.

“Empty Bowls is special because our whole community comes together to celebrate service,” said Third Grade Teacher Stephanie Karian. “Because of our strong Episcopal roots, we are always trying to identify ways we can help.”  

“The curriculum work we do leading up to Empty Bowls is also meaningful, “explained Third Grade Teacher Tati Wisniewski. Explaining a math problem from the United Nations World Fund Program, students are tasked with pretending they are a villager who only makes $5 per day and figuring out how to make their limited resources cover housing, food, transportation and other costs for their family.  “It’s really eye-opening for students – and for me – to learn about people, right here in our community, who have to find ways to meet their basic needs.”

Last year’s Empty Bowls event raised $3,212. Over the years we have raised a total of $42,000.  Like Jaclyn, while I celebrate this achievement, it pains my heart to think that in New Jersey – the third wealthiest state in the nation – we need to raise money just to make sure people have enough to eat.

“People should come to Empty Bowls if they like to help people who don’t have any food or a home,” Fourth Grader Chiara said. “Empty Bowls will help fill someone’s bowl.”

In addition to having breakfast , attendees are  treated to a wide variety of student and faculty performances.  This year’s lineup includes Ms. Tanisha dancing with her church group, and a beloved canine named Finn who will be doing some special tricks.  “I love that you can watch a show and have fun,” said Third Grader, Sara, who will be singing and dancing with her Hip Hop Group. “But it’s also charitable and you can make a difference.”

Please join us in this schoolwide milestone event.  Come by for breakfast any time between 8:30-11:30am. You’ll be glad you did.

Comments?  Questions?  Ideas?  I’d love to hear them!  Email me: jsingleton@allaintsdayschool.org