Artists from around Pinellas County donated hundreds of handmade bowls.
Clearwater, FL – Empty Bowls is a grassroots movement created by artists in cities across the world to care for and feed the hungry in their communities. In Pinellas County, almost 14% of the population is food insecure, meaning they ate less than they felt they should due to lack of food or money.
The non-profit benefiting from the event, RCS Pinellas, shared that over half of the individuals receiving groceries from their food programs are children and seniors. They, alongside Empty Bowls Pinellas, St. Petersburg College, and Highwater Clays of Florida came together to host an ‘Empty Bowls’ event and raise money for the hungry.
The event asks local artists to create handmade bowls and donate them to the lunch. Community members are then invited to come and eat. Guests pay a nominal fee for the lunch, enjoy the event, and then take a handmade bowl home with them to keep.
Almost 200 people attended this year’s event, and over $11,000 was raised to benefit RCS Pinellas’ food program.
Kirk Ray Smith, President and CEO of RCS Pinellas shared, “Empty Bowls is all about ensuring there are no empty bowls for individuals and families facing food insecurity. The generosity of SPC, volunteers and the artists who make this event happen year after year is second-to-none. The funds raised through this effort has led to the provision of thousands of pounds of food for hundreds of households across Pinellas County.”
Food insecurity is not only an issue among children and the elderly but for college students too.
“After working at St. Petersburg College for over 10 years, food insecurity for our students has become more and more common and helping to end this has become a passion of mine. If you are hungry, there is no way you can learn and be successful in school. I participate in Empty Bowls because I love that my students are able to give back and make change in the community through their art,” explained Jonathan Barnes, St. Petersburg College Academic Department Chair for Humanities and Fine Arts.
The funds raised from this event will feed almost 30 families for a week.
RCS President & CEO, Kirk Ray Smith, (pictured left) helped serve food at the Empty Bowls event in Clearwater.
RCS Pinellas has provided help & hope to people in need for 50 years. RCS’s mission is to feed the hungry, help families facing homelessness return to self-sufficiency, and empower survivors of domestic violence. Over 130,000 Pinellas County individuals are served annually with dignity to accomplish this mission at the RCS Food Bank, the RCS Grace House, The Haven of RCS, RCS Affordable Housing, RCS Energy Assistance Program, and RCS thrift store partnerships.
For more information on RCS, visit www.rcspinellas.org or call 727-584-3528.