Empty Bowls fundraiser helps local food pantries


The sixth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser is set for March 18 to spread awareness of hunger and homelessness and raise money for local food pantries.

Coordinated by Bags of Hope, Debora Staiano and Earth Arts owner Michelle Kelly, participants are able to go to Earth Arts, located at 162 W. Park Ave., between Feb. 1 and Feb. 28 to paint a ceramic bowl that they would eat out of at the pasta dinner celebration on the 18th.

Empty Bowls is an international organization that fights hunger. For $30, participants would receive a bowl to paint, use, and keep as a souvenir, while $15 per bowl would be donated to the Empty Bowl Project.

More than 150 people attended last year’s event, which raised about $3,000, making the total amount raised over the past five years more than $8,000.

The pasta celebration is set to take place at St. Mary of the Isle, located at 315 E. Walnut Street, between 2 and 5 p.m. on the 18th. Organizers said that in addition to pasta, there would be games, raffles, music by DJ Serenade, face painting, entertainment by Sammi Hoops, an indoor bowling lane provided by Maple Lanes and more.

The W.I.S.H. girls, a local group from Long Beach Middle School, will work a kids activity table. Admission to the pasta dinner is $10, or free with a hand-painted bowl.

Earth Arts will also host an adults-only bowl painting night on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. where participants are welcome to bring a bottle of wine or any beverages of their choice.

All proceeds benefit Bags of Hope, St. Mary’s pantry, St. Ignatius Martyr Church, the Long Beach Food and Friendship INN soup kitchen and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1384.

Organizers said the fundraiser is a project that creates awareness of hunger, homelessness and a community that cares about its underserved population.

“It’s a collaboration between Earth Arts and Bags of Hope,” Staiano said. “A lot of local community members donate — the local restaurants donate and the 11561 moms donate.”

For more information or to donate or volunteer, call (631) 991-5990.