Art students craft chili bowls in support of Good Samaritan Inn
Art students from Millikin University used their creativity to help raise proceeds for a local community center as part of the annual Empty Chili Bowl Fundraiser on Dec. 8 in the University Commons Ballroom.
Millikin students created 130 ceramic chili bowls for the event. The bowls were sold for $10 each and profits went to the Good Samaritan Inn of Decatur, Ill.
"The Good Samaritan Inn is a very good program and I think we partner with them in lots of ways," said James Schietinger, professor of art at Millikin. "The connection is nice. The students feel good about the event and it's a win-win for everybody."
Six Millikin students worked on the chili bowls throughout the fall semester to have them ready in time for the event.
"It takes about five minutes for the students to shape the bowls, but they also have to be trimmed and glazed; there's a lot of steps involved," Schietinger said. "Many of the students who worked on the bowls have spent four semesters learning ceramics."
Schietinger said the goal for the event was to raise $1,000 and sell at least 100 bowls. "I'm excited that so many people from the community attended," Schietinger said.
In addition to the community members, Millikin students, faculty and staff also attended the event. Chili, regular and vegetarian, as well as drinks and desserts were served throughout the evening. The event featured music performed by the Big Bluegrass Band.
"It's really fun to make a bunch of bowls. I get to have fun with designs," said Michael Holmberg, a junior studio art major from Decatur. "It's also really nice to know that it all goes to the Good Samaritan Inn. It's helping people that really need it."
For the past 20 years, the fundraiser has grown into a popular holiday event around campus and the local community. It was the sixth year that the Good Samaritan Inn partnered with Millikin University. The event is part of a nationwide movement to raise funds, using art, to benefit people who do not have enough to eat.
"The event builds every year, and with the addition of the University Commons, it made this year's event amazing," said Rev. Stacey Brohard, executive director of the Good Samaritan Inn. "This is one of the few fundraisers that we don't have to put all the effort into during the year. Jim (Schietinger) does an amazing job of bringing it all together."
The Good Samaritan Inn is a faith-based, social cause organization that helps improve the lives of those in need in the greater Decatur area. The organization provides nutritious meals every day to the community; provides employment opportunities by offering job training skills in the areas of food preparation, food production and basic construction; and collaborates with community groups to create opportunities to improve the lives of economically disadvantaged neighbors.
"It's a nice, inexpensive way for people to come out and have dinner," Brohard said. "This event is unique because it brings together the arts community and those who are focused on hunger in Decatur."