Charity event benefits Homeless

By Karla Juarez, Advocate Staff

The annual Empty Bowls event was held outside of Aqua Terra on Oct. 21 to raise money for homeless and less fortunate families with bowls of soup.

Culinary arts department instructor Elizabeth Schwartz said the event was inspired by other colleges and they thought that it was a great opportunity to host it in here at Contra Costa College too. Her students made the soup for the event.

The funds collected from the Empty Bowls event is donated to the Bay Area Rescue Mission.

Culinary arts major Bernice Syess said the Bay Area Rescue Mission shelters the “homeless” and people who have “addictions” who need help, so that is the reason for this event.

Culinary arts department Chairperson Nader Sharkes said, “The Empty Bowls movement is all over the country, but the Bay Area Rescue Mission is only located in the City of Richmond.”

Bay Area Rescue Mission volunteer Greg Goodman said they house and feed the homeless or people with alcohol or other substance abuse problems.

They help build people back up so they can be effective members of society.

He said one of the “biggest” things they do is transitional housing, and after they (homeless) are done with the program, they can remain there until they stabilize themselves or are able to fend for themselves.

Goodman said, “80 percent of the money collected or donated goes to programs to help homeless or other people who really need help.”

The bowls are made by art department students and by students from different schools around the county.

Because of the power outage on campus on Oct. 14, the Empty Bowl event was postponed and ultimately rescheduled.

“I invited 12 people who came out to enjoy this event with me last Friday (Oct.14), but some of them could not make it back here today (Oct. 21) for the rescheduled event,” Brandy Gibson, campus tutoring coordinator, said.

More than 200 people showed up and enjoyed the Empty Bowl event on Friday. Every year the student crafted bowls become the highlight of the event and are coveted like souvenirs. Funds generated by the sale of the bowls are also donated  to the Bay Area Rescue Mission.

Gibson said, “I love this event. I have come every year for the last five years, and I have all these bowls at home. It is great to see the students’ work. The cool thing is that they have always vegetarian food.

“The event provides not only additional money for funds that they can purchase food, but it benefits to the community as well.”

“We know how much they need the help; some of them come here (CCC) to take classes. It keeps them out of the streets away from the bad stuff out there,” she said.

Many people donate money to the students who make the bowls and food, Sharkes said.

“The attendees were 70 percent students and 30  percent others, including faculty,” Sharkes said.