High-school activist

Erin Brosy

Photo By David Robert

If you need something done, as the adage goes, ask a busy person. Erin Brosy, an 11th grader at Wooster High School, is a competitive gymnast who practices daily. She’s also the organizer of the local Empty Bowls project, a fundraiser in which student artists sell handmade bowls full of soup. Buyers get lunch and keep the bowls, and proceeds help get food to hungry people. Empty Bowls events were started in 1990 by a high-school art teacher in Michigan and are held internationally and in affiliation with various churches, schools, food banks, etc. The Reno fundraiser will be held 2-5:30 p.m., Saturday, April 16, at the First United Methodist Church, 209 W. First Street.

What is the Empty Bowls project?

The Empty Bowls Project is basically a fundraiser for Interfaith Hospitality Network. [The IHN is a cross-denominational program designed to assist homeless families through temporary housing, job placement and other assistance.]

Where will the proceeds go?

[They’ll] go straight to mainly the host churches, who provide [participants] with bus passes, with food … to help them get back on their feet.

How’d you get involved with Empty Bowls?

Mainly just through our church. And my parents. I think there’s 13 churches in the local area who do this program, and we’ve hosted families. A family spends the night with [the host church].

Tell me more about that.

Well, there’s different jobs in the church you sign up for. To bring meals to families, to spend the evening with them, because the families are actually only there from about 5 in the afternoon, and they spend the night at the church till about 7 in the morning. That’s when they go back to their daycare center or to school or hopefully a job.

How do you find the families who need help?

They apply through the main [IHN] network.

How’d you go about coordinating the project?

Originally, I had a group of high-schoolers that go to other high schools. I gave them letters, and they delivered those to their art departments’ teachers.

What happened after they got the word out?

After they got the word out, it was up to the teachers to e-mail me or call me, and then I got the main art department teacher’s number, for all of Washoe County, and I e-mailed her asking how I could better get in contact with these people. And she gave me a main master list of all the high schools, and I sent an e-mail out.

Do you have experience with delegation?

I’ve been working with student government. I’ve done that for the past two years, and I’m running for Senior VP next year. We delegate a lot of tasks with that. You have to know who to delegate what to, so I’ve used it there.

Which high schools are working on the project?

As of right now, Reno, McQueen, Spanish Springs, Wooster, Damonte, Sage Ridge, and there are some others. Incline.

How many art students are involved?

Probably about 250 from all the schools. They have a lot of bowls.

Have you seen any of the bowls?

I have. Actually, Reno delivered theirs yesterday. They’re of all shapes and sizes. It’s great. Some are traditional bowls, but we have some box ones, and they’re all different colors. Some are really beautiful, and some are plain.

Do you have any career plans in the works?

No. I’d like to go into possibly medicine, but I’m not set on that.