Little did I know that what started as an idea to raise my children’s awareness of the fight against hunger would become an annual event that has now seen its twentieth year.

But of course an idea is nothing without a team behind it to make it happen, and none of this would be possible without the remarkable volunteer participation that so many provide to make Empty Bowls so successful.

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The Empty Bowls Dinner is a wonderful example of people giving back by using their resources. We have potters, both professional and non, chefs and cooks, restaurants, bread makers, a temple youth group, and more. They all give of their time and resources to make the Empty Bowls Dinner a shining success.

Yesterday was the twentieth Empty Bowls Dinner, and I am so proud of our success. Over the last twenty years, over twenty thousand people have passed through our doors, and we have raised over a half a million dollars for Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Just Harvest.

Yet, I am also still disheartened by the reality that food insecurity remains an issue for many in our community. We must continue this great work until the time comes when no child or adult has to go without a meal.

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Thank you to all who made more than 2,000 bowls, 33 types of soup, bread and baked goods. Thank you to Chef Bill Fuller, who has meant so much to our efforts to spread awareness in the greater community.

Thank you to more than 150 volunteers who set up, break down, clean tables and serve soup.

Thank you to the best committee — comprised of Just Harvest, Food Bank, Rodef Shalom staff and generous community members.

Thank you Rodef Shalom for lending us your building, resources, youth group and providing us with significant financial support.

And a heartfelt personal thank you to Alix Paul, Ken Regal, Lisa Scales and Alyssa Jurewicz-Johns for the tribute piece made in honor of my work and Rodef Shalom’s support over the last twenty years.

I am feeling honored and proud.

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