Empty Bowls, full hearts

Fundraiser benefits local food pantries


The fifth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser was held on March 19 to raise money for local food pantries.

Debora Staiano and Earth Arts owner Michelle Kelly coordinated Sunday’s pasta dinner where guests ate out of ceramic bowls they painted throughout the month of February, donating $25 per bowl.

Empty Bowls is an international organization that fights hunger. This year’s fundraiser in Long Beach raised about $3,000 — making the total amount raised over the past five years over $8,000.

About 150 people attended the event at the Long Beach VFW where children enjoyed games, face painting and arts and crafts.

Staiano and Kelly bought gift cards to local stores like Stop & Shop and donated them to the local pantries and soup kitchens, including Bags of Hope/MLK Pantry, St. Mary’s pantry and the Long Beach Food and Friendship INN soup kitchen.

Local business owners livened up the event, including Sammi Hoops, who provided sand art activities, and Stacy Adler from Y-Cats Craft Service and Jayse Catering who presented the food in a display.

“I don’t think any person should go to bed hungry,” Staiano said. “It’s our duty as a community to take care of one another.”