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On a mission to end hunger, one bowl at a time

At 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, nearly 70 handmade bowls had been sold during the first Empty Bowls event at the Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church, with the noble intent of helping to end hunger in our community.

The organizers were two artists, Danielle Bullock and Ed Huml, who created a Facebook event page inviting anyone to attend the kickoff event—aimed at raising funds to benefit two local charities, the Ecumenical Neighborhood Lunch Program at Zion Lutheran Church and the Community Food Pantry at Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Their efforts were part of a bigger grassroots movement started years back by The Imagine Render Group, fastening onto the symbolism of the empty bowls — a sign of not having enough to eat, reminding us that many people around the world live below the poverty line.

“We can’t solve big things, but we can help out locally,” said Huml.

Local potters and craftspeople contributed their skills, working together to create a total of 120 bowls, each decorated differently and in a unique manner. In all sizes and shapes, the bowls were sold for $25 each.

“We’re hoping to become annual,” Bullock exclaimed of the event, explaining that the soup kitchen–which the money is going to–usually receives about 75 to 100 people on Saturdays.

Many of the artists, such as Victoria Booth, who had made a medium-sized bowl — mainly painted in pink with black dots all around — were present to see the finished projects. Booth’s face lighted up when she saw that a six-year-old named Benjamin had picked her creation to be used as a Mother’s Day gift for one of his grandmothers.

Ben had, without knowing, made history—thanks to his mother, who brought him along.

Dr. Yalamanchil Rao, Huml’s allergist, also bought two bowls, chipping in for those in need.

“It’s a very nice thing to do,” he said.

Pastor at Presbyterian Church, David Aja-Sigmon, was thrilled to see the generosity. “We’re very humble to be a part of this,” he said, adding, “There’s need in this community; people will come [to be fed] and nobody’s turned away.

“It’s wonderful gifts like these that are present in this community,” he concluded.

Events like these take place across the country and abroad, raising millions of dollars to end hunger.

If you’re interested in volunteering at the local charities, contact Jean DeGennaro (Lunch Program at Zion Lutheran Church, 6307 Fourth Avenue) at 718-836-4476; donations can also be arranged for drop-off for the Community Food Pantry by calling the church at 718-836-0681.

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