Social Action is part of Rodef Shalom’s mission. In addition to being a longstanding supporter of the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry and a founding member-congregation of the East End Cooperative Ministry, we are a proud host and sponsor of Empty Bowls, a signature fundraising effort of Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank and Just Harvest.
The annual Empty Bowls Dinner is a meager meal of soup and bread, a fundraiser for Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Just Harvest, and a Pittsburgh favorite family activity. The event is held every March at Rodef Shalom Congregation.
The most notable feature of Empty Bowls is choosing which “Empty Bowl” to take home from table after table of hand-made ceramic bowls of every description. These bowls, donated by local amateur and professional potters, are reminders of the “empty bowls” many of our neighbors facing hunger endure. Waiting in the “soup line” at the event reminds us that even today, people still stand in line for food assistance.
Restaurants and caterers donate bread and several hundred gallons of soup, from exotic selections like Thai Corn Chowder and Sherry Bisque to perennial favorites Vegetarian Vegetable and Chicken Noodle. Empty Bowls is also known for its family-friendly atmosphere with children’s activities, plus a bake sale, live entertainment, silent auction of fine ceramic art, local personality soup-servers, and soup-to-go.
One feature introduced a few years ago, the celebrity-autographed bowl auction, continues. Watch for details on this year's offerings.
“With unemployment figures showing little improvement, the Food Bank continues to expand service by an average of 2,500 households each month,” said Joyce Rothermel, CEO of the Food Bank. “And according to newly released USDA figures, one in every seven Americans receives SNAP Assistance (Food Stamps), an increase of 16% in just one year. So our friends at Just Harvest, who help people with the SNAP application among other things, are also busier than ever. Food security is an issue that directly affects every other effort at improving the quality of life for disadvantaged people in our region.”
Click here to visit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Click here to visit Just Harvest.
Click here to watch a Comcast Newsmakers segment about the event!
Click here to watch a KDKA feature about the event!