The Springdale High School program restores and equips students with social skills

Administrators and teachers from the Allegheny Valley School District were able to enjoy a meal while donating to a good cause on Wednesday afternoon.

The meal was part of empty bowls lunch, “a grassroots movement of artists and artisans in cities and towns around the world to raise money for food-related charities to care for and feed the hungry in their communities,” according to the site. Web Empty Bowls.

Springdale Jr.-Sr. High School’s Family Consumer Science program and its art program teamed up to create the bowls and prepare the meal.

More than 40 ceramic bowls with unique patterns and shapes were on display for people to choose from. The dishes served included desserts, salad and soup. The cost was $7 to enjoy one meal and keep the bowl afterwards.

“We hope to raise $300 this year,” said Melissa Leger, a family consumer science teacher.

The lunch takes place once a year in March. Administrators from the Allegheny Valley School District and teachers from Springdale High School are invited to attend. The program began when Leger began teaching high school in 2013.

The program was a success for many staff members who returned repeatedly for lunch.

Tina Kaczor, Technology Systems Coordinator, said the creativity of the lunch with the different bowls the students prepare and their involvement is what she enjoys the most.

“The food is always delicious and the students are always proud,” she said. “It is heartwarming.”

Travis Aiken, a ninth-grade English teacher, said staff look forward to attending the luncheon each year because of its concept and the food.

“I love seeing kids put their energy into something worthwhile,” he said.

Proceeds from the lunch are donated to the Lower Valley Community Food Bank.

In the past, the program has been able to raise about $400 a year, Leger said. Covid has hampered the progress of the program for the past two years. Last year take-out bowls were available for purchase for administrators and staff.

School spokesperson Jan Zastawniak said that in addition to lunch, students volunteer to help out at the food bank on a monthly basis.

“They make a difference there because they (the food bank) don’t have a lot of young people to help them with the heavy lifting,” she said.

The students involved in the program take away different values ​​and lessons.

Springdale High senior Emmett Jaronski once helped organize a Christmas dinner. It was the first time he had helped at lunch.

“It’s a great life lesson to help people, even if you don’t make money from it. It’s always a good experience to help others,” he said.

Fellow senior Logan Dexter said it was the most valuable class. This was her third year volunteering for lunch. The socialization aspect is what he gets out of volunteering, he said.

“It’s a fun experience, and you get a break from school to hang out with friends and help out,” Dexter said.

Springdale Senior Autumn Sprouse made two ceramic bowls for the occasion. The project took him about two weeks.

“It’s good to know that he will stay here,” she said. “It’s like I’m leaving them a little piece of me.”

Tanisha Thomas is the editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tanisha at 412-480-7306, tthomas@triblive.com or via Twitter .