While this past week saw millions of Americans wishing, hoping and praying for those magical numbers that would result in their collecting a $656-million lottery prize, one of the more realistic and sustained wishes, hopes and prayers is that every family could have a safe and comfortable home, a prosperous and honorable livelihood, and the chance to build a better future.
That is certainly the daily wish, hope and prayer of Family Promise of the East San Fernando Valley, the staff, board and supporters of which gathered for their second annual Empty Bowl fundraiser at the St. Finbar Community Center on March 25.
While the day was dreary and cold outside, inside the center the warmth of bellies filled with hot soup mirrored the warmth of the gathering's spirit of benevolence. Welcomed by the organization's Executive Director Jacqueline White, President Harold Jordan, Vice President and event Chairwoman Mary Adney and Past President Jenny Greene, hundreds of Burbankers perused tables filled with ceramic bowls that had been handcrafted by local artisans from the Burbank Creative Arts Center, McGroarty Art Center and Glendale's Hoover High School Potters. With a bowl selected, they then moved on to the soup line to have it filled with their choice of soups that had been donated by Café Victory, California Pizza Kitchen, Gary Bric's Ramp, Granville Café, Pomodoro and the Riverside Café.
Among the attendees who enjoyed the day and left with soup-warmed stomachs and their bowl — a reminder of the hunger and uncertainty homeless families face on a daily basis — were St. Finbar pastor the Rev. Albert Bahhuth, Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy and former Councilman Tim Murphy. Others who supported the event with their presence included Bill Luddy, Richard Harris, Beth Marcus, Ellissa Weekely, Michael and Karen Hirsh, Ruth Amlauer Devine, Richard and Lila Ramirez, Ken and Bea Wainwright, Mary Christensen, Chris and Jackie Kelley, the Rev. Wade Mikels and his wife, Cheryl, Phil and Linda Simmons, Maya Lazar, Ira and Tobi Lippman, Alex Feder, Janice Ng, Regina Palamara, Jennifer Smith Greene, Jerry Smith, Kathy Purdy, Nancy Kachline, Eric Michael and Jasmine Mila Cap.
Established in 2010 as one of more than 170 national chapters, Family Promise of the East San Fernando Valley is committed to assisting low-income families achieve lasting independence. The group also provides safe shelter, meals and support services for homeless families through the participation of an interfaith network of local congregations and volunteers.
Last week's event, sponsored by the Media City Community Credit Union and Philleen Meskin Real Estate/Re/Max Elite, was also made possible by Family Promise board members Kym Karas-Huffman, Jean Mourn, Sandra Thompson, Mary Anderson-Harris, Diane Cripe, Howard Fallman, Nancy Guillen, Barbara Lazar, James Smith and former Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos. Others who made the event a success were the organization's advisory board members Vanessa Aramayo, Sam and Kathryn Engel, Steve Ferguson, Rabbi Richard Flom, Laura Friedman, Lynn Kronzek, Bud and Laura Lovick, Elizabeth Manasserian, Joan Patricia “J.P.” O'Connor, Laurie and Pat Patterson, the Rev. Ross Purdy, Patrick Thomas, Joylene Wagner and Christine Walters.
For more information on Family Promise of the East San Fernando Valley, log on to www.familypromiseesv.org or call (747) 333-6081.
DAVID LAURELL can be reached by email email@example.com or (818) 563-1007.