RED BANK, NJ - Bowls will once again bloom in the gardens of the JBJ Soul Kitchen the weekend of May 20-21 when the Empty Bowls Project returns to 207 Monmouth Street. With the motto Every Bowl Feeds a Soul, the event brings together artists, teens, and community members to help raise awareness of hunger in our area.

This is the third year that hundreds of handmade bowls in every shape, size, and color will be on display in the organic garden of the Soul Kitchen. Before the event, the Monmouth Arts Teen Arts Festival and Art Alliance of Monmouth County create the many bowls. On Saturday, May 20th and Sunday, May 21st, patrons may select a bowl for a $20 donation, and, while supplies last, receive a canvas Monmouth Arts tote to carry their bowl home. Proceeds go to help feed someone in need of a meal at the Soul Kitchen and to support the Art Alliance. Hours are Saturday, 1-5 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

 “When someone donates for a bowl they not only receive a beautiful handcrafted piece of art, they also Pay It Forward to provide a healthy meal for someone in need at Soul Kitchen,” said Marylou Caputo, Soul Kitchen's Program Manager. “This project exemplifies Soul Kitchen's message to the community: Eat Well, Do Good.”

The Soul Kitchen’s mission is to empower those who are food insecure through their volunteerism as payment for their meal.  The paying customer effects change by donating more than a suggested price, helping to defray the cost of the volunteer meal. The result creates community that sustains itself. Likewise, the Empty Bowls are made by a large number of volunteers, including artists, teens, and many friends who work happily for months to build, decorate, kiln fire, pack and unpack the bowls.

Gina Navon of the Art Alliance coordinates the volunteers in the project. She says, "Empty Bowls is a project of community helping community. We come together from the Art Alliance, from Soul Kitchen, from Monmouth Arts, we invite our friends to join us, we bring our daughters, sons, significant others. We have fun, but we work hard--especially Mil, who is the driving force here--and in the process we are all humbled by our good fortune, and present this reminder to the world that there are still many among us who struggle for this simple basic human need: food."

The Empty Bowls Project was initiated in our area by Ms. Mil Wexler Kobrinski in collaboration with Monmouth Arts.  Mil is a ceramic artist and painter, and a board member of the Art Alliance. Her MFA thesis project focused on Empty Bowls, a project of Imagine/RENDER, a 501(c) 3 organization that fosters 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.

Soul Kitchen was founded by Dorothea and Jon Bon Jovi. The JBJ Soul Kitchen, a program of the JBJ Soul Foundation, is a community restaurant featuring fresh, healthy ingredients. Soul Kitchen serves meals to in-need customers through volunteer work and 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.

Monmouth Arts is the official county arts agency of Monmouth County whose mission is to enrich the community by inspiring and fostering the arts. The annual Monmouth Teen Arts Festival invites all teens ages 13-19 in the county to experience professional critiques in their artistic disciplines, fun and interactive workshops (including the most popular workshop, Empty Bowls with Mil), peer performances, and exhibitions.

For more information about the Art Alliance, please visit: artallianceofmonmouth.org ; for Soul Kitchen visit: http://www.jbjsoulkitchen.org/en ; for Monmouth Arts and Teen Arts Festival:  www.monmoutharts.org .