PCS 4th Graders Embody Giving Spirit with Empty Bowls

Empty BowlsA lump of clay, an apron streaked with glaze, and a visit from the Rhode Island Community Food Bank together signal one thing: The annual PCS Empty Bowls event. Under the direction of Lower School teacher Kelly Barr, 4th graders have worked hard to orchestrate this year’s event, an interdisciplinary project that combines academic, art, and social learning with giving back.

For Empty Bowls, students design and create unique ceramic bowls in art class while researching, writing about, and discussing the devastating effects that hunger has worldwide and in their own community—as well as ways that they can help. The students invite parents and guests in to share soup and bread in a fundraising event that benefits the Food Bank.

Cindy Elder, Director of Communications for the RI Community Food Bank, remarked, “The students at Paul Cuffee are bright lights on Rhode Island’s educational horizon. Their teachers are leading the way in developing thoughtful young citizens. They are actively learning how hunger affects people in their own community, and they are taking action to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

This year’s event, held on November 20, raised more than $1,800. The event was made possible by a number of sponsors: PCS parent George Garcia donated hand-made bowls to supplement the supply of bowls made by the students and staff, United Natural Foods funded ceramic supplies for the student-hewn bowls, Whole Foods donated the soups, and Calise and Sons Bakery provided the rolls.

Photo caption: PCS 4th grader Sheyla Soto fashions her bowl. While the bowls are fun to make, Soto says her favorite part of Empty Bowls is “giving and sharing with people who don’t have as much as we do.”


Average Class Size: 20
Current Enrollment: 820
Students of Color: 96%
Female Students: 51%
Male Students: 49%
Free/Reduced Price Lunch Eligibility: 82%
Multi-Language Learners: 19%
Students Receiving Special Education Services: 13%
Total Employees: 168
BIPOC: 45%
Female Employees: 75%
Male Employees: 25%