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Student builds bowls to help fight hunger

Alex Apland

It’s almost a year away, but Rogue Community College student Alex Apland has already begun making hundreds of ceramic bowls for the next Soup for the Soul, a fundraiser for a local food pantry she started two years ago.

Apland had made 150 bowls and three other students donated 30 more bowls for this year’s event, held Feb. 11 at the Beacon Café in Grants Pass. For $10 attendees got one of the handmade bowls filled with soup.

More than 400 people showed up Feb. 11 for the second annual benefit. Featuring soup donated by eight area restaurants, the benefit took place at the Beacon Café in Grants Pass.

But turnout far exceeded Apland’s expectations when more than 400 people showed up, and they ran out of bowls and then soup. Café owners Tim and Sandy Mock quickly made more soup and served it in paper bowls.

“The Mocks amazed me,” Apland said. “Some people left donations and went on.” The first year’s event garnered $1,200; this year $4,500 was raised for The Rock Food Pantry, a volunteer-run food distribution center.

“That’s one month they don’t have to stress about money,” noted Apland, who works as a waitress. “The idea of a kid falling asleep hungry just breaks my heart,” she explained. Now she’s building 500 bowls for next year’s fundraiser. “I want to make sure everyone gets a bowl!”

Apland graduated in 2011 from Hidden Valley High School and enrolled at Rogue Community College.

“I love Grants Pass and wanted to stay here. RCC is a great place to complete my pre-reqs while I figure out what I want to do,” said Apland. Although she’s leaning toward a career in business, one of her first RCC classes was ceramics.

“I fell madly in love with pottery. When your work comes out of the kiln, there’s a great feeling of satisfaction,” she said. “Phil Fishwick is a fantastic teacher,” she added. “He gives every person one-on-one attention and stays calm and collected.”

Apland came up with the fundraiser idea sitting in a coffee shop talking with a friend.
Much to her surprise, everyone she’s asked agreed to help.

Apland, who recently used her tax return to buy a pottery wheel and kiln, plans to start selling her ceramic work.

“I’m going to put 10 percent of the profits into the soup project,” she said.

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