The second annual Empty Bowls Westchester fundraising event raised $87,500 in one evening on Sunday, November 13, at the Whippoorwill Club in Armonk to support local food pantries in Northern Westchester including The Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, The Community Center of Northern Westchester and the Pleasantville Interfaith Emergency Food Pantry. Award-winning anchor for New 12 Westchester and News 12 Hudson Valley, Lisa Salvadorini, served as the evening fundraiser emcee.
Hosted by Chappaqua Cares, an organization dedicated to connecting local residents with philanthropic opportunities for volunteering, fundraising and donating, the event included a celebrity bowl silent auction with bowls signed by Chappaqua’s own Hillary Clinton, Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, singer/songwriter James Taylor, country music star Carrie Underwood, New York Mets players and other notables.
Co-founders and organizers Dawn Evans Greenberg and Jessica Stern Reinmann welcomed guests as they made their way into the club. The event was attended by hundreds who came out to support the cause in casual dress and dined on a simple meal of soup and bread.
The bowl signed by Hillary Clinton helped raise $3,000 in the silent auction. The bowl was presented as a gift to Greenberg who had worked tirelessly during the election season on behalf of Hillary for America.
Why the need for an event to help end hunger in affluent Westchester County? According to USDA’s 2014 report on hunger in America, Household Food Insecurity in the United States, 13.5 % of New York residents are food insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to a nutritious well-balanced diet. The Food Bank for Westchester estimates that approximately 200,000 Westchester County residents are hungry or at risk of hunger. More than half of them are seniors; one-third are children under the age of 18.
Empty Bowls Westchester is part of the Empty Bowls project, an international grassroots effort to raise money and awareness in the fight against hunger. Empty Bowls communities work together to create hand painted bowls for guests to take home at the end of the event to serve as a reminder of all of the people in the world whose bowls are empty on a daily basis.
Kelly Leonard is the Founder and Principal Consultant of KLO Associates, LLC, a digital marketing boutique specializing in custom content strategy and influencer engagement for authors, publishers, local businesses and nonprofits. Previously she held senior management positions at Time Warner Book Group and Hachette Book Group.