Pinconning teens are leveraging sweet treats and handcrafted bowls to fight hunger

If you need a good excuse to savor a heaping bowl of ice cream, the students in the Pinconning High School United Way Chapter can provide. 

The students are holding a Thurs., May 25 Empty Bowls fundraiser at Studio 23 in Downtown Bay City to create awareness about hunger and provide resources for people in need.

Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger.

For weeks, the approximately 25 students in the club have been hand-crafting 100 ceramic bowls for the fundraiser. On May 25, they'll fill the bowls with Michigan Cream & Sugar Ice Cream for people at the fundraisers. Donors keep the bowls.

Tickets are $20 each and available online.

Club Adviser Bridget Holmes says she's excited that a grant from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe paid for the materials to make the bowls. The ice cream company, based at 160 Uptown Drive, donated the ice cream. And Studio 23, 901 N. Water St., is donating the venue. While donors enjoy their ice cream, students also will provide live entertainment.

"It's nice that 100% of the $20 tickets is going to the United Way," Holmes says.

Holmes says this is the latest event for United Way group at Pinconning High School. Earlier this school year, they created kits to help people without homes, held a coat drive, and visited a nursing home. 

Club President Carson Holmes, a senior at the high school, says he likes helping the community. Carson also has had the opportunity to join United Way of Bay County Board Meetings, giving him a better understanding of the work nonprofits do. 

"It's directly helping people," Carson says. "It's not just fundraising for money."

Club Vice President Summer Pomaville, a high school sophomore, also says she likes that the United Way lets her help her community. 

"I know there's so many people out there who need help," Summer says.

Norman Olar, also a sophomore, says helping people makes him happy. 

"I am involved because I like helping people and I like working with my hands," Norman says.

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Read more articles by Kathy Roberts.

Kathy Roberts, a graduate of Central Michigan University, moved to Bay City in 1987 to start a career in the newspaper industry. She was a reporter and editor at the Bay City Times for 15 years before leaving to work at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Covenant HealthCare, and Ohno Design. In 2019, she returned to her storytelling roots as the Managing Editor of Route Bay City. When she’s not editing or writing stories, you can find her reading books, knitting, or visiting the bars of Bay County. You can reach Kathy at