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The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

Filling “Empty Cups” up with Art in the Fight Against Hunger

Nyasa Bryson
Empty Cups Fundraiser 2024

On February 24, 2024, the fight against hunger made its way to Piscataway High School at the “Empty Cup” fundraiser, an event organized by art teacher Ms. Wartenburg and her army of talented student-volunteers.

Inspired by the international “Empty Bowls” hunger-fighting organization, the high school’s Ceramics and Sculpture teacher sought to throw her sword in the battle with her own take on the program: “I turned it into empty cups… students create and glaze cups and they sell them …[for] the money to go to [the local charity] Feeding Middlesex County.

Sign directs students to select their mug at Empty Cups Fundraiser 2024 (Nyasa Bryson)

All mugs featured were done by the art students of Piscataway High School as well as some staff members who wished to get involved. Beginning in January, Ms. Wartenburg began to recruit students from all art classes with the help of the art department, including the Art National Honor Society which offered volunteer hours to members who chose to paint mugs and help with the program.

Having them “take a quiz on what Feeding Middlesex County was,” Ms. Wartenburg made sure that all volunteers knew what they were giving their time to, and following that, “they had to create a sketch for their design on the cup, [which]they were very involved and very excited about.”

Students create their designs at Empty Cups Fundraiser 2024 (Nyasa Bryson)

Many volunteers can attest to the excitement, with Junior Fizza Bokhari, in the Art Academy AP Drawing and Painting, as well as the National Art Honor Society, admitting that she even “bought [her] own mug”; however, “If you want it, you have to buy your own mug and make a new mug to replace that one”, which she did.

It all goes to an excellent cause, however, with local 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Feeding Middlesex County, supporting 150+ nonprofit organizations and food pantries located in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Like Ms. Wartenburg, their mission is to fight hunger and food insecurity one donation at a time.

A selection of student made mugs at Empty Cups Fundraiser 2024 (Nyasa Bryson)

In addition to being able to purchase a cup for $10, those who supported the fundraiser simply by visiting enjoyed all the free art-activities offered including bracelet making, oil painting, pastel drawing, and rock painting.

Face Painting at Empty Cups Fundraiser 2024 (Nyasa Bryson)

Also offered, available for an extra dollar was henna tattooing and face painting.

Henna tattooing done by students at Empty Cups Fundraiser 2024 (Nyasa Bryson)

Featured on ABC News, promotion of the event was considerate, hoping to get the most out of the philanthropic community spirit.

At the end of the day, the Empty Cups fundraiser surpassed the initial goal of raising $1,000 by raising a total of $1,700, all to be donated to Feeding Middlesex County.

Students chart progress towards their fundraising goal at Empty Cups Fundraiser 2024 (Nyasa Bryson)

Do not be upset if you missed out on this charitable opportunity, as Ms. Wartenburg wishes to turn it into a frequent event: “I did it originally in 2019-2020 and then covid but i would love to do it again.”

If you cannot wait that long, however, leftover mugs can be purchased by contacting Ms. Wartenburg at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Nyasa Bryson
Nyasa Bryson, Journalism Student Reporter
Hi! I’m currently a junior at PHS and this is my first year officially writing for chieftain as a reporter (my freshman year I fell in love with the class and wrote as a student). You’ll see a lot of current events and just things that generally interest me: ranging from strike coverages to new fashion lines to music to AHS (Coven>>). Thanks for checking us out!

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    namnamMay 8, 2024 at 1:01 pm

    This is so cute