HHS Media

Empty Bowls fundraiser raises $15,000 for Kenyan girls’ school

The+directors+of+the+fundraiser+talk+about+their+program+to+the+audience.
The directors of the fundraiser talk about their program to the audience.

The directors of the fundraiser talk about their program to the audience.

Photo courtesy of Nasaruni Academy Board of Directors

Photo courtesy of Nasaruni Academy Board of Directors

The directors of the fundraiser talk about their program to the audience.

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The third annual Empty Bowls fundraiser collected an estimated $15,000 in donations from local businesses and members of the community. All proceeds will go to the Nasaruni Academy, a girls school in Narok, Kenya, to finance much-needed structural renovations.

The event took place on Friday, March 16 in the HHS cafeteria. Participants could bid in a silent auction for a chance to win a variety of gift certificates, courtesy of Mr. J’s Bagels and others, handmade ceramic bowls donated by SENK Creative Arts and an assortment of other items, including a ornately carved children’s rocking chair and a voucher for a bagpipe serenade from Russell Kohrs, who performs under the stage name The Shenandoah Piper.

In addition to serving the Valley’s piping needs, Kohrs serves on Nasaruni’s board of directors. He and his wife, Sarah, have played an instrumental role in raising money for the Academy, and have visited the school on numerous occasions to assist with construction and education. Last December, Russell accompanied students from Massanutten Regional Governor’s School, where he teaches environmental science, to oversee the installation of a water filtration system.

“[Our] overall mission sought to give love, build understanding, and give materially and altruistically” Kohrs said. “What [we] never could have fathomed was magnitude of love, giving, and depth of understanding they would receive back from the girls and staff at Nasaruni Academy. It was a powerful trip.”

The fundraiser drew volunteers from Key Club, James Madison University, and Massanutten Regional Governor’s School, who helped transform the cafeteria into a sort of banquet hall, arranging folding tables in neat rows, setting out styrofoam dishware and baskets of bread. Several local restaurants had donated soup for the attendees – Bowl of Good, O’Charley’s and the Joshua Wilton House, to name a few.

“I tried two different soups, both of which were delicious,” volunteer and HHS senior Jack O’Brien said. “I avoided the beef and barley stew, though, because it looked a little bit iffy. Anyway, I found the whole experience very rewarding, and I hope Nasaruni gets the help it deserves.”

Currently, the staff at Nasaruni prepares food for students in a temporary structure built from corrugated metal sheets. The temp has a charcoal cooker to warm up meals, which, in addition to requiring a steady supply of costly fuel, emits harmful carcinogens. The board of directors hopes to build a permanent kitchen and replace the cooker with a gas or electric stove.

Sarah Kohrs left Friday, March 23 for Nasaruni Academy. She delivered the donations of the Harrisonburg community.

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Empty Bowls fundraiser raises $15,000 for Kenyan girls’ school