Mayor Justin Wilson, second from left in back, joins the Community Champion Sponsor Jen Walker Team for a photo at the 5th annual ALIVE! Empty Bowls Alexandria fundraiser Nov. 16 at the Durant Arts Center. The event raised $75,000 for the nonprofit organization’s programs.
Photo by Janet Barnett/Gazette Packet
More than 200 attendees turned out Nov. 16 at the Durant Arts Center for the 5th annual ALIVE! Empty Bowls Alexandria, raising $75,000 for the organization’s food programs.
“Empty Bowls is part of a national movement to remind people about food insecurity,” said ALIVE! executive director Jennifer Ayers. “Each participant in the event is given a handcrafted pottery bowl to take home to use and also to reflect on how they can make a difference to someone who is hungry.”
Bowls for the event were donated by the Alexandria Clay Co-Op and the Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Campus Fine Arts Department. The event meal is simple soup, stew and desserts with food provided by several Alexandria restaurants.
“This event is a great way to recognize what can be done when people come together to help others,” said ALIVE! board president Eric Winakur. “Yet we continue to need donations to support the needs of our most vulnerable populations. Our staff field calls from people in need every day.”
The Community Champion Sponsor was the Jen Walker Team with honorary co-chairs “Mango” Mike and Donna Anderson providing event support. Karen O’Hern and Pam Goodell were event co-chairs.
“We are delighted to have the support of leaders and volunteers in our community who make things happen for people in need of support,” Ayers added. “We look forward to continuing to be a sustainable and reliable resource for people who need a helping hand.”
ALIVE! was founded in 1969 by a group of 14 faith leaders. It is now comprised of 45 interfaith congregations, community leaders, civic organizations and individuals who support its ability to provide basic needs services in the City of Alexandria.
The city estimates approximately 16,000 people live with food insecurity in Alexandria, which also has the highest rate of free and reduced lunch for school-children in the state at 61 percent. ALIVE! provides five days of groceries per household at three sites throughout the city monthly; delivers groceries to people who cannot leave their home and supplies 15 community partners with food for soup kitchens, pantries and groceries for children to take home from school or afterschool care.
ALIVE! also provides furniture, housewares and emergency financial support to people in need, runs a preschool for children of working families ages 3-4 on a sliding fee scale and operates a transitional shelter for women in families.
For more information on how to volunteer or make a contribution of food or items, call 703-837-9300 or visit www.alive-inc.org.