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On the Town: Empty Bowl event helps fight homelessness

On the Town: Empty Bowl event helps fight homelessness
Soup servers, from left,  Richard Lin, Cassie Raab and Jules Eng were at-the-ready to fill hundreds of artisan bowls. (Photo by David Laurell))

While most charitable organizations stage fundraisers in fancy ballrooms and provide their supporters with steaks, salmon and souffles, Family Promise of the Verdugos takes a lower-key approach by presenting an annual Empty Bowl luncheon.

This year’s event — which invited supporters to peruse an arts-and-crafts fair, select a ceramic bowl handcrafted by a local artisan and use the vessel to enjoy a variety of soups provided by local eateries — was held on June 14 at St. Finbar Catholic Church’s community center.

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Empty Bowl events, which began in Michigan in the early 1990s, have become an international, grass-roots effort to fight hunger in America.

The premise is simple: local potters and arts associations create and donate the bowls for guests to purchase as their lunch receptacle. They then take their bowl home to serve as an artistic symbol of the hunger and uncertainty homeless families face on a daily basis.

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The local chapter of Family Promise, one of 190 affiliates nationwide, uses the funds raised at this annual event to further its mission of assisting situationally homeless families.

Established in 2010, the group works with homeless families to help them achieve lasting independence. Partnering with a network of local interfaith congregations and volunteers, they also provide safe shelter, meals and support services such as counseling and job readiness for those in the Burbank, North Hollywood, Glendale and Eagle Rock areas.

Supporters at this year’s Empty Bowl, which included City Council members

Jess

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Talamantes

,

Emily

Gabel-Luddy

and former Mayor

Marsha

Ramos

, were welcomed by the organization’s interim executive director,

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J.P. O'Connor

, newly appointed Executive Director

Albert

Hernandez

, and board member

Yvette

Herrera

, who served as the event’s chairwoman.

Among those who made the event a success included the group’s board members

Sandy

Thompson

,

Howard

Fallman

,

Becky

Haase

,

Geraldine

Ramos-Alvarenga

,

Miryam

Finkelberg

,

Nancy

Guillen

,

Kym

Karas-Huffman

,

Carolyn Jackson

,

Barbara

Lazar

and

Zizette

Mullins

.

Others who were instrumental in bringing the event together were

Vanessa

Aramayo

,

Sam

Jr.

and

Kathryn

Engel

, Rabbi

Richard

Flom

,

Laura

Friedman

,

Jenny

Smith

Greene

,

Lynn

Kronzek

,

Elizabeth

Manasserian

,

Pat

and

Laurie

Patterson

, the Rev.

Ross

Purdy

,

Joylene

Wagner

,

Christine

Walters

,

Dale

Gorman

,

Debbie

Hensen

,

Barbara

Rog

,

Michael

Hirsch

,

Mary

Jane

Weaver

,

Fran Kissel-Powell

,

Claude

Hulce

,

Linda

Lynchw

,

Michael

Law

,

Philleen

Meskin

,

Brenda

Fabe

,

Ellen Wohlstadter

,

Nancy

Kachline

,

David W. Porter

and

Ellisa Weekley

.

For more information about Family Promise of the Verdugos, its upcoming events and volunteer and support opportunities, visit

.

--

DAVID LAURELL

may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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