PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (Oct. 25, 2021) – Hope Villages of America, a Pinellas County nonprofit with more than 50 years of service and support to the community, is bringing back its annual Empty Bowls luncheon to raise funds for the county’s food-insecure residents. Without Hope Villages, thousands of families and seniors would face the daily, demoralizing trial of not knowing when they’ll eat again.
The concept of filling Empty Bowls has particular resonance in the community this year, said Hope Villages of America’s President and CEO Kirk Ray Smith. “This pandemic has been challenging for everyone; it has introduced people that have never been food insecure to our food banks and has been even more difficult for those who were already battling food insecurity. When virtual school and work-from-home—or, worse, unemployment—became the new normal, parents scrambled to replace meals provided by the school district, and everyone from employees to business owners had trouble putting food on the table.”
In Pinellas County, 123,860 people are food insecure; Hope Villages provides more than 6 million pounds of food to more than 60,000 of those individuals, including seniors and families, each year.
Hope Villages will host Empty Bowls on the St. Petersburg College campus at 2465 Drew Street in Clearwater, Fla. 33765. Funds raised from the luncheon and auction will support Hope Villages’ free and confidential services addressing food insecurity and hunger through mobile food pantries and a food bank that supports 84 subsites throughout the county.
Empty Bowls isn’t your standard sit-down luncheon but a buy-one-give-one fundraiser that also celebrates craftsmanship and community! On Saturday, November 6, participants are invited to choose their very own, handcrafted bowl and soup selection; the bowl, provided by local potters, pottery studios and St. Petersburg College students and faculty, is theirs to keep as a memento and everyday reminder of the second meal they provided for someone in need!
The Empty Bowls luncheon is a drop-in social event; between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., participants can pick up lunch to-go—or linger and enjoy their soup al fresco. Participants can also get a jump on their holiday shopping list. Additional handmade bowls will be available at the event for purchase—and people can bid for artist-donated, one-of-a-kind items in the online auction running from 8 a.m. on October 25 through 2 p.m. on November 6 at http://bidpal.net/2021emptybowls.
Philanthropically focused businesses and community members underwrite the Empty Bowls event. “We’re so grateful to this year’s presenting sponsors: Empty Bowls Pinellas, Highwater Clays of Florida and St. Petersburg College,” said Smith. “And proud that Klar and Klar, Anona Episcopal Church and Church of the Ascension joined us as gold sponsors and St. Alfred’s Episcopal Church joined us a silver sponsor. We invite more individuals and businesses to join us in the fight against food insecurity here in Pinellas!” Sponsorship opportunities, ranging from $250 to $500, are still available at hopevillagesofamerica.org/empty-bowls.
Tickets for this event are $20 in advance, available now at hopevillagesofamerica.org/empty-bowls, or $25 at the door.
About Hope Villages of America: Established in 1967, Hope Villages of America is a registered 501(c)(3) organization that addresses hunger, housing and abuse in Pinellas County. This mission is advanced through three distinct but integrated programs: Food Distribution & Basic Needs, Homeless Prevention Project & Housing Stability and Abuse Services. These programs operate in more than 60,000 square feet of service space and serve more than 130,000 participants annually throughout the county. In 2019 the nonprofit was awarded GuideStar’s Gold Seal of Transparency for the second year in a row and the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce Biggest Community Impact award. For more information, visit hopevillagesofamerica.org or call 727-584-3528.