The “recipe” for Brookdale’s annual Empty Bowls program is a simple one: take some delicious soup, add in dozens of hand-made ceramic bowls, sprinkle on some prize giveaways, and mix it all together with a spirit of charitable giving.
The result is one of the Brookdale Employee Volunteer Connection’s (EVC) longest running initiatives, which raises thousands of dollars each year for food pantries across Monmouth County.
For only $6, students and employees receive a healthy lunch or a tasty desert along with a decorative ceramic bowl created by Brookdale art students. All patrons also receive a raffle ticket for a larger ceramic piece created by Brookdale faculty and noted local artists like Diane Sweeney.
All proceeds go to local food pantries. This year’s event, held simultaneously on April 21 in the Student Life Center, Larrison Hall and at the Wall Higher Education Center, raised $1,655.00 for Joshua House Ministries in Farmingdale, Trinity Church Soup Kitchen in Asbury Park, and Hope Community Church Food Pantry in Manasquan.
“We do this to draw attention to the fact that there are many ’empty bowls’ out there in Monmouth County, and to support those local food pantries that are working to help our community members in need,” said EVC coordinator Rosemary Kochman. “Many people don’t know that if a pantry runs out of food, they actually have to go out and buy more. But they never stop working. So we feel like we need to do our part as well.”
The annual program is supported by a wide range of Brookdale volunteers – from the ceramics students who make the bowls and the culinary students who prepare the food to partners like the CulinArt Group, which provides supplies and helps keep the soup piping hot throughout college hour.
Teams of EVC volunteers manned each station throughout the day, serving food, wrapping up bowls and hosting the raffle drawings following the event. Remaining ceramic bowls were sold to attendees at Brookdale’s annual Women’s Conference on April 22.
Check out more photos of the 2016 Empty Bowls program here.