Religious Community Services (RCS) staged their annual fundraising event Empty Bowls 2017 at the Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College on Saturday, October 8th. According to Melissa Reddington, Campaign Development Director for RCS, proceeds generated go to the RCS Food Bank in Clearwater. The event featured soups and bread donated by several area restaurants served in donated, hand-made bowls. Tickets for Empty Bowls 2017 were $25 per person and each attendee was given a free bowl of their choosing. They could then purchase additional bowls for $10, offering a creative and unique holiday shopping experience.
Empty Bowls 2017 was sponsored by the St. Petersburg College Humanities Department. The Olive Garden, Panera Bread, Nature’s Food Patch of Clearwater, The Whistle Stop Café in Safety Harbor and Restaurant Associates at Raymond James donated soup and bread. The hundreds of hand-made ceramic soup bowls were donated by area artists, and pottery students from St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation, USF Lil’ Muddys, the National Art Honor Society chapters of Clearwater Central Catholic High School and Largo High School, and Highwater Clays of Florida. Award winning professional potters Charlie Parker; Ira Burhans; Jack Boyle; Glenn Woods/Keith Herband; and Wellman and Welsch donated selected works for a raffle drawing.
Empty Bowls 2017 Committee: Left to Right, Emily Schrider, Assistant Curator of Art, Raymond James and Associates; Scott Taylor, V.P. Advancement and Communication, RCS; Barbara Ott, Manager Highwater Clays Florida; Melissa Redington, Campaign Development Director, RCS; Jonathan Barnes, Chair of the Humanities Department, St. Petersburg College
“What can you do with twenty gallons of soup and enough bread for 400 people?”, asked Reddington. “At Empty Bowls 2017 we turned it into over $5,000 to benefit the RCS Food Bank. This is the 50th Anniversary of providing Help and Hope for People in Need in Pinellas County. We are Pinellas County grown and proud of it.”
The Empty Bowls 2017 Committee included Jonathan Barnes, Chairman of the Humanities Department at St. Petersburg College; Emily Schrider, Assistant Curator of Art, Raymond James and Associates; and Barbara Ott, Manager, Highwater Clays, Florida..
Seeing the need to help people in need in Pinellas County in 1967, fifteen local congregations of varying faiths and ethnicities came together to provide "Help & Hope". As the needs grew, these community leaders founded RCS to pool resources, today serving people facing hunger, homelessness, domestic violence and basic needs.
RCS is a non-profit, charitable organization requesting tax-deductible donations in a variety of forms.