Empty Bowls fundraiser raises awareness for less fortunate

By Christy Ford

The Tower (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)

Originally Published in Print

To raise awareness of hunger in metro Detroit, Empty Bowls will host its annual luncheon on Sunday, March 15 from 4-6 at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church and Cultural Center.

“Hunger affects everybody,” Empty Bowls co- chair Cali Duncan said. “We focus on it in other nations, but we have a real problem of hunger here in the United States, including in our state and our own city. This is something we can do to help those less fortunate. We all need to eat.”

For a minimum donation of $10, guests can en- joy a bowl of soup, bread and dessert and take home a handmade, decorated bowl, former Assumption Church chair Patti Theros said. The bowls serve as a reminder that someone’s bowl is always empty.

The money raised in the event will be donated to Cass Com-munity Social Services (CCSS), a non-profit organization based in Detroit that works to eliminate poverty by providing food, health, housing and jobs to those in need, CCSS representative Reverend Sue Pethound said.

“We provide a million meals a year,” Pethound said. “What they (volunteers) donate to us goes to food programs which is very important. We count on donations to feed those in need.”

Food and entertainment for the luncheon, will be provided by locals. This year, the Ambassadors, a group of previously homeless men from CCSS, will be performing gospel music during the event.

“They are an all men’s choir and are very inspira- tional.” Theros said. “Many of the singers, who were formerly homeless, tell their stories of recovery.”

Since 2007, Assumption Church has hosted an annual luncheon to raise money for the hungry, Theros said. The event has grown significantly since the first year, raising $8,000 in 2014.

“Our goal was to reach beyond our parish and community of Grosse Pointe and St. Clair Shores to the metropolitan Detroit community,” Cali said.

In previous years, bowls signed by celebrities such as Alice Cooper, Tony Hawk, Dave Dom- browski, Lisa Lazarus and Jeff Bridges have been auctioned off.

“Having the support of celebrities in any cause is really helpful in bringing attention to that cause.” Cali said. “In our case, many people don’t realize what a problem hunger is in the United States. Be- ing able to attach the names of well-known celebri- ties to a cause like ours makes it a little easier to grab people’s attention to educate them about what a serious problem it is right here in our own city.”

Originally, volunteers painted glass bowls with regular paint, Claire Duncan ’17, who participated in the first Empty Bowls event, said. Today, they decorate handmade clay bowls with glaze. This year, volunteers are painting bowls that have al- ready been fired, Duncan said.

Hundreds of volunteers, from Girl Scouts to church groups, have made clay bowls at the Sugar Hill Clay Studio in Midtown Detroit and donated them to the Empty Bowls fundraiser, Cali said.

Last year, South’s Varsity Club participated in Empty Bowls, Theros said.

In addition to helping out, painting bowls can help stu- dents meet service hour re- quirements and allow them to meet new people, Claire said.

“It’s such a simple and in- credible way to give back to De- troit and have fun,” Claire said. “It makes me feel really good because I know that I am help-ing an incredible organization that feeds and hous- es the hungry and homeless people in Detroit.”

Anyone can sign up for a volunteer shift, donate or attend, Theros said. For more information, visit www.emptybowlsdetroit.com.

Photos Credit: re-modern.com

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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