Sometimes, Marco Islanders are so passionately local that they tend to forget they’re part of Collier County.
This isn’t the case with locals Susie Hauze and Eva Kubinsky, who are busy contributing their time and efforts to help make the annual Empty Bowls Naples project a success.
Empty Bowls Naples raises money to feed the nearly 40,000 people in Collier County who are food insecure, which essentially means they may not know where their next meal is coming from, says Hauze.
The (overall) goal is 4,500 handmade, hand painted pottery bowls for the event, scheduled for Saturday, January 25, 2020 from 11 AM to 2 PM in Cambier Park.
Event attendees select a bowl, enjoy soups and bread from over 50 local restaurants, enjoy entertainment from local performers, and are encouraged to participate in the paint-a-bowl event, silent auction, or pottery sale.
Hauze and Kubinsky have over the past year produced more than 200 bowls, and have committed to creating more leading up to the event.
In addition, each month they attend painting and glazing sessions in Naples.
“At the moment they are short about 1,800 bowls, so now there’s a big push,” said Hauze, who works with Kubinsky and professional potter Sandy Howe at the pottery studio in the Marco Island Center for the Arts.
The Center’s executive director, Hyla Crane, willingly allowed the use of the studio and Howe has volunteered to load the kilns and fire the bowls.
“She’s an incredible pottery teacher and has been our #1 cheerleader,” said Hauze.
Empty Bowls is a huge supporter of Meals of Hope, which also has an annual packaging spree at the Marco Island Charter Middle School.
In Collier County Public Schools, 62 percent of children are on the free and reduced lunch program.
Knowing this sobering statistic, Meals of Hope continually provides our meals to the guidance counselors or front office staff at every school so that a hungry family has immediate access to food, Hauze said.
Food packages are also distributed to local food pantries throughout Southwest Florida.
Empty Bowls Naples is an annual fundraiser started by a group of volunteers under the leadership of Donna Torrance and her Barron Collier High School students in an effort to help fight hunger in their community.
Marco, incidentally, has its own version of the project. Called Souper Bowl, it raises money for scholarships for deserving students under the umbrella of the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce.