Residents and community businesses gathered Friday afternoon to help raise money and awareness during the Empty Bowls fundraiser at First Christian Church.
Organizers netted about $5,200 to benefit the hunger relief efforts of Shepherd’s Pantry, St. Vincent de Paul Church and Glendora Police’s outreach program, which helps give hotel vouchers, gift cards and more to people in need.
“It’s a great event. It’s been going on for a long time and it’s certainly helped us. We count on it every year,” said Phil Huisman, Shepherd’s Pantry director.
Shepherd’s Pantry, which opened in 2004, began as a Glendora-based emergency food delivery service for the city and surrounding communities. In 2006, the Pantry opened its doors at the current location on Arrow Highway.
The Pantry also offers a resource counseling program, clothing distribution, a Children’s Reading Comprehension Program, children’s math tutoring and more: all of which will benefit from Empty Bowls, Huisman said.
Glendora Police has an outreach program, providing help to those in need in the form of gift cards for groceries, fast food and even hotel vouchers. The program is completely funded through Empty Bowls, said Lt. Matt Williams of Glendora Police.
“We have Glendora welfare that will provide a hotel room, like a night or two, to Glendora residents who may not have access to their home,” Williams said.
The number of families being assisted by Shepherd’s Pantry has leveled out since the “Great Recession.” However, hunger and the need for basic necessities is still a huge problem in Glendora, Huisman said.
Most of the families and individuals helped by the Pantry are below the poverty line, the rest are considered the working poor, spanning a broad spectrum: single mothers, elderly and the disabled to name a few.
Many businesses contributed food and helped serve during the event, while ceramic students from the Citrus College donated handcrafted ceramic bowls to be purchased. Sponsors for the fundraiser also included Pioneer Potters, Kara’s Corner, Ed’s Place, Village Kitchen Shoppe, Domenico’s Jr., Sushi & I and more.
The idea is for participants to also take their bowls home after they finish eating, as a reminder that others in the community have empty bowls, not by choice, but through unfortunate circumstances.
Money can be donated to Shepherd’s Pantry online. Food and clothing can also be donated at the facility, 657 E. Arrow Hwy, Suite J, Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.