Empty Bowls event raises over $20,000 to fight hunger!

Photo credit: Frank Mitchell

Yesterday, November 15th, Coalition for the Homeless commemorated National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week by holding the Empty Bowls Symbolic Soup Kitchen Luncheon. We are happy to share with our readers that over 325 people partook in the luncheon, which raised awareness about the widespread tragedy of hunger in Central Florida and over $20,000 to help fill the region’s “empty bowls.” 

The luncheon, which took place at the Sonesta Hotel Orlando Downtown, featured a traditional soup kitchen meal of soup, salad and bread.  As a lasting reminder, attendees received a pottery bowl handcrafted by Stella Tagliavore and local artists.  As guests dined, they enjoyed entertainment provided by the UCF Glee Club and the Walt Disney World Resort’s Zazu Jazz Band. Each table also featured placemats created by the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council, under the leadership of Kathy Rodriguez; and Best Buy provided the unique flowerpot centerpieces with photos of children who call the Coalition home.

We are grateful to presenting sponsor GrayRobinson, P. A. and our other major sponsors, including the Just in Queso Foundation of Tijuana Flats Burrito Company, Sonesta Hotel Orlando Downtown, and Magic 107.7 radio. The event, emceed by Magic 107.7 DJ Ken Payne, featured heartfelt remarks of gratitude from a client in Coalition’s First Steps Substance Abuse Recovery Program.

This established event has been hosted for the last 20 years by the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. The Coalition is proudly carrying on the yearly tradition, with the same goals and impact; and took the opportunity to honor its partners from Second Harvest by presenting a special plaque to their Vice President of Development, Greg Higgerson. 

“The scary reality is that one out of five people in our community are hungry and 47% of them are children,” said Brent A. Trotter, President/CEO of Coalition for the Homeless, in presenting the plaque.  “Together, we are committed to helping our hungry and homeless neighbors obtain food to fill their stomachs and the resources needed for a better life.”

We want to thank Coalition Board Members Elena Norman of Hilton Grand Vacations and Carlos Barrios of Stevens-Barrios, along with several of our clients, for being such super “servers.” Our heartfelt thank you also goes to our generous guests and the many other sponsors and donors – such as Standards Coffee Service – who made this event possible.

A special thank you to Frank Mitchell for donating his time and talent to take such great event pictures for us, as always! Be sure to check out the Empty Bowls photos.