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Empty Bowls soup kitchen to raise awareness, funding to fight hunger

By Staff | Nov 3, 2009

The Harry Chapin Food Bank will hold its first Empty Bowls soup kitchen from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers, which is hosting the project for the first time.
The 2009 Empty Bowls event, which raises awareness of hunger, is sponsored by Panera Bread.
Coordinated by Lee County art teachers, the project provides the public with an opportunity to donate money and choose an empty bowl created by Lee County students and have it filled with soup for $10.
Suzanne Somogyi, Lehigh Senior High School art teacher and chair of the Empty Bowls committee, said she first heard about the project through the Lee Art Education Association of Lee County, the group that spearheaded the collaboration with the food bank.
“The Harry Chapin Empty Bowls event is an event that allows my students to participate in helping feed the less fortunate in Lee County,” she said. “It is really important because it teaches our students how important it is to help those who are more needy than they are.”
Somogyi said elementary, middle and high school students will create 500-600 bowls with a food safe glaze. She believes approximately 25 schools are participating, donating 25 bowls each.
The event will feature a silent auction of artists’ bowls, along with pottery demonstrations from Tim Smith, Chas Bean and Sandy Lawson.
The entertainment during the event will be provided by host Chuck Smith, the Edison Park Elementary Drum Group, Cheeky Monkey-Harmony, Robert Mezzio and Co. and the Pinewood Elementary Pirates Recorder Club.
The soup will be donated by 10 local restaurants, along with Costco, which will provide water.
Panera Bread will provide broccoli and cheddar soup, along with bread; Bonefish Grill will serve corn chowder; First Wok will serve egg drop soup; Jason’s Deli will serve tomato basil soup; LaMotta’s Restaurant will serve minestrone; Mel’s Diner will serve chicken soup; Miller’s Ale House will serve chicken noodle soup; Outback will serve creamy onion soup; Olive Garden will serve pasta soup; and Perkins Restaurant will serve chicken soup.
Celebrity servers will include Stacy Adams, Stephanie Davis, Mike Flanders, Ray Judah, Doug McGregor and Randy Henderson.
“I invite everyone to come out and bring a friend,” Somogyi said. “You will be rewarded with the feeling that you are helping feed the hungry and sharing in this wonderful celebration of art education.”
For information, call 334-7007 or visit the Web site at: www.harrychapinfoodbank.org.
The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd., in Fort Myers.