jbj-soul-kitchen-101911-500x375Press release from Art Alliance of Monmouth County

The weekend of May 14 and 15 is going to be beautiful, no matter what the weather. On that Saturday and Sunday, all Monmouth County residents and visitors are invited to take part in the Empty Bowls Project, a joint fundraiser to benefit the JBJ Soul Kitchen and the Art Alliance of Monmouth County, in collaboration with Monmouth County Arts Council’s Teen Arts Festival.

The event will take place in the organic gardens of Soul Kitchen at 207 Monmouth Street, Red Bank. Participants make a donation of $20 and receive a “pay it forward” coupon. Their coupon entitles them to select one of the hundreds of beautiful handmade bowls, and will help to feed an in-need person at the Soul Kitchen and benefit the Art Alliance. May 14 hours are 1 to 5 p.m.; May 15 hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

This is the second year for the Empty Bowls Project event. During the months of preparation, artists, students, and others have come together to create and decorate the bowls. The Teen Arts Festival, an annual event sponsored by the MCAC, offered participating students several workshops in which to make bowls.

This year, with the help of the Holiday Express team, a party of special needs students traveled to a local pottery studio to glaze bowls, and Ceramic Supply of Lodi, NJ generously donated clay.

This Empty Bowls Project was coordinated by Art Alliance board member Mil Wexler Kobrinski in collaboration with the MCAC. A ceramic artist and painter, Ms. Wexler Kobrinski selected as her MFA thesis subject the Empty Bowls initiative, which is a project of Imagine/RENDER, a 501(c) 3 organization, consisting of an international grassroots effort to raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger. The mission is to create positive and lasting change through the arts, education, and projects that build community.

One recent estimate states the number of individuals experiencing food insecurity in Monmouth County at more than 125,000 individuals. Although such suffering is not necessarily visible, it is very real, especially to those who experience it.

“Part of the Soul Kitchen mission is to raise awareness of food insecurity in one’s own community; a project like this is a great way to shed light on community interests and needs,” said Marylou Caputo, JBJ Soul Kitchen’s Community Coordinator. “We love art at Soul Kitchen. Art and Soul Kitchen go together nicely.”