RED BANK, NJ - The weekend of May 14 and 15, 2016 is going to be beautiful, no matter what the weather. On that Saturday and Sunday, all Monmouth County residents and visitors are invited to take part in the Empty Bowls Project, a joint fundraiser to benefit the JBJ Soul Kitchen and the Art Alliance of Monmouth County, in collaboration with Monmouth County Arts Council’s Teen Arts Festival.

The event will take place in the organic gardens of Soul Kitchen at 207 Monmouth Street, Red Bank. Participants make a donation of $20 and receive a “pay it forward” coupon. Their coupon entitles them to select one of the hundreds of beautiful handmade bowls, and will help to feed an in-need person at the Soul Kitchen and benefit the Art Alliance.May 14 hours are 1 to 5 p.m.; May 15 hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

This is the second year for this Empty Bowls Project event. During the months of preparation, artists, students, and others have come together to create and decorate the bowls. The Teen Arts Festival, an annual event sponsored by the MCAC, offered participating students several workshops in which to make bowls.

This year, with the help of the Holiday Express team, a party of special needs students traveled to a local pottery studio to glaze bowls, and Ceramic Supply of Lodi, NJ generously donated clay.

This Empty Bowls Project was coordinated by Mil Wexler Kobrinski in collaboration with the Monmouth County Arts Council. Ms. Wexler Kobrinski serves as a board member of the Art Alliance and is a ceramic artist and painter. Her MFA thesis project focused on Empty Bowls, which is a project of Imagine/RENDER, a 501(c) 3 organization, consisting of an international grassroots effort to raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger. The mission is to create positive and lasting change through the arts, education, and projects that build community.

“The important thing is that everybody has been meeting and working on these bowls, coming together as a community with a purpose and a mission,” said Ms. Wexler Kobrinski. One recent estimate states the number of individuals experiencing food insecurity in Monmouth County at more than 125,000 individuals. Although such suffering is not necessarily visible, it is very real, especially to those who experience it.

Soul Kitchen was invited to participate in the public awareness and fundraising campaign to strengthen community engagement. “Part of the Soul Kitchen mission is to raise awareness of food insecurity in one’s own community; a project like this is a great way to shed light on community interests and needs,” said Marylou Caputo, JBJ Soul Kitchen’s Community Coordinator. “We love art at Soul Kitchen. Art and Soul Kitchen go together nicely.”

Members of the Art Alliance of Monmouth County have participated and supported the event at every stage. “I am proud that members of the Art Alliance are working in the community to feed those in need. As artists we have an obligation toward social action,” said Wexler Kobrinski.

The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen is a community restaurant featuring fresh, healthy ingredients. Soul Kitchen serves meals to in-need customers through volunteer work or to paying customers through donation. The Art Alliance of Monmouth County is a non-profit, member-owned and operated gallery and studio in Red Bank, whose mission is to promote the advancement of the visual arts and provide exhibition, studio and classroom space.

For more information about the Art Alliance, please visit: artallianceofmonmouth.org for Soul Kitchen visit: http://www.jbjsoulkitchen.org/en