It was a wet and rainy Saturday morning as volunteers set up for the day’s much anticipated event. Bowls, soon to be filled with soups from all over the city, were displayed on long tables lined with volunteers ready to hand them out. Cambier park was quiet at first, but soon came alive with the voices of children and adults alike as they began picking and painting bowls in the name of world hunger.
On Saturday, Jan. 24, the community came together in an effort to raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger in the 9th annual Empty Bowls Naples. Artists, volunteers, and other community members crafted hand-made bowls for the event, while local restaurants donated soup and bread to be served.
The event is an international effort, spread across the US and Canada to raise money and awareness in the name of world hunger. 1,600 people attended this year’s event, and once again more than $60,000 was raised.
Each person in attendance, in exchange for a $15 cash donation, selected a hand-crafted bowl of their choice. The bowl is meant “as a reminder of all the ‘empty bowls’ in the world” according to the Naples’ Empty Bowls website.
Empty Bowls combines art, music, and food in order to create awareness of the hunger in our local community.
This event, held at Cambier park, raised $60,000 last year and is expected to keep growing.
“[For] every $1 we can distribute $6 in food,” said Joyce Jacobs. The proceeds go to the the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida. “This is a very, very important event for the Naples community,” said Jacobs. “It teaches young people how their one little bowl can make a difference.”
Each year Jodie Pientka and Lisa Miller arrive at 5:45 a.m. to show their support.
“We think this is a very worthwhile cause and there is a lot of camaraderie over the year with those who come and participate; we enjoy the awesome Drumline, talking to everyone about the soups and which soups they want to eat,” they commented.
Nearly 50 restaurants participated in filling an impressive 2,000 bowls at Saturday’s event.
The Harry Chapin Food Bank provides food to more than 30,000 people monthly and each donated dollar donated distributes $6 worth of grocery items to these hungry people. Empty Bowls supports food-related charities all around the world and has raised millions of dollars.