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4th annual ‘Empty Bowls’

By Staff | Nov 29, 2011

For the organizers of a local charity event, the sight of an empty bowl is symbolic of the hungry people in the community. But its also a symbol of hope and a unique fund-raiser hosted by the Harry Chapin Food Bank that affords the opportunity to give back and to help those in need.

The 4th annual “Empty Bowls” event is expected to draw hundreds of people to the Alliance of the Arts this Saturday, Dec. 3. Participants pay $10, then select a handcrafted ceramic bowl and try an unlimited variety of soup selections from local restaurants.

Harry Chapin Associate Director Joyce Jacobs said its a fun event for the whole family and an affordable way to help out.

“People are getting a value for their donations. They get to keep something and enjoy the day,” she said.

People get to take home the handcrafted bowls, which were created by art students and local artists. This year, 800 bowls are available for purchase, Jacobs said.

Attendees will also be treated to live entertainment with performances by the Trafalgar Elementary Recorder Consort, Edison Park Drummers, Mirror Lakes Reflection Choir, Varsity Lakes Lightning Step Team, Lehigh Glee Chorus and the Oak Hammock Middle Dance Team. Pottery demonstrations will also be provided by Chas Bean and Theresa West-Taylo.

Celebrity chefs who will be doling out the tasty soups include Lydia Black, director of the Alliance for the Arts; Joseph Burke, superintendent for Lee County Schools; Randy Henderson, mayor of the city of Fort Myers; Doug McGregor, editorial cartoonist; Stephanie Davis, Downtown Diva; John Manning, Lee County Commissioner; Mike Flanders, Fort Myers Councilman; and Lee County School Board members Thomas Scott, Mary Fischer and Jane Kuckel.

Carmelo and Ana LaMotta and Darrel and Dawnell Ayres from LaMotta Italian Restaurant will be the Souper Chefs and oversee the serving of the soup.

Panera Bread is the presenting sponsor of the event and will be providing tasty soups and Panera Bread Caf will offer hearty bread to accompany the soups. The participating restaurants and the soups they will offer include Jason’s Deli, vegetarian vegetable; Oasis Restaurant, chicken noodle; Hickory BBQ, turkey vegetable; Sweet Tomatoes, chicken pot pie; LaMotta’s, pasta Fagioli; Mel’s Diner, turkey noodle; Panera Bread, broccoli cheddar; and Ciao, Italian wedding. The Prawnbroker and University Grill are also expected to provide food.

Jacobs said that for every $10 donated, Harry Chapin will be able to buy $60 worth of food to help feed the hungry.

“This is a multi-faceted event. Children are learning about hunger in their communities and how they can help,” Jacobs said.

This popular event will be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Alliance of the Arts, 10091 McGregor Boulevard, in Fort Myers.

For more information, contact The Harry Chapin Food Bank at 334-7007.