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For One Rochester Business Owner, the Fight Against Hunger is Personal

Empty Bowls event at downtown's Firebrick Gallery will help put food on the table for those who are struggling in southeastern Michigan.

There are empty bowls and empty stomachs all over southeastern Michigan this holiday season.

But there is also one local business owner intent on using her artistic talents and studio to fill both.

Christine Laikind, owner of is hosting the Second Annual Empty Bowl Fundraiser from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday. Proceeds will benefit .

For Laikind, it's a way to give back. And it's personal.

"They helped me when my daughter was 15 months old," Laikind said. "I wasn't working, my husband was, but it wasn't enough. God's Helping Hands helped feed us, so I understand what people go through."

A bowl and a symbol

Empty Bowls is an international grassroots movement designed to stop hunger. For the Firebrick event, preparations started back in May with the collection of bowls. Local artists, students and groups, like the Lake Orion High School Ceramic Club, made and donated the bowls.

With a ticket purchase — $10 for an adult or $20 for a family — you get a bowl of soup, bread, a beverage and dessert.

At the end of the event you take your bowl home with you as a symbol of the fight against hunger.

The money raised from the event goes directly to , a group dedicated to providing meals, clothing and support to southeastern Michigan families in need.

"From back-to-school filled backpacks to their Christmas toy drive, God's Helping Hands does so much more," Laikind said.

The menu

A couple of Rochester's favorite food providers are supplying the night's menu.

The soup, minestrone, is from . 

"We have a great relationship with Firebrick," said David Youngman, director of marketing/communications at Rochester Mills. "And we're always looking for an opportunity to give back to the community."

Bread, including sourdough and wheat, and pastries will be provided by and E-Visual Communications. White and chocolate cake will be served as dessert.

The meal will be served by volunteers: a mix of students, artists and members.

"It's a lot of fun for a good cause," Laikind said. "We are blessed and we can help people a little more. It's really paying it forward."

In addition to the meal, downtown businesses — , and — have donated gift certificates for raffle prizes. 

Thanksgiving for all

Last year the event raised $2,400 with 192 meals served. This year Laikind is hoping to raise $4,000 by selling at least 215 tickets. 

"Not too long ago, God's Helping Hands ran out of baby formula," Laikind said. "This event will not only help get food on tables for Thanksgiving, but also restock their baby formula supply."

Tickets are sold in one-hour time blocks starting at 5 p.m. and ending with an 8 p.m. seating. Tickets must be purchased in advance and sales end Tuesday. Tickets can be purchased at Firebrick Gallery at 404 S. Main St. or God's Helping Hands at 1866 Star Batt Drive. Tickets can also be reserved by emailing firebrickgallery@att.net. An adult ticket is $10 and a family ticket is $20.

Ben Giovanelli, CPA November 14, 2011 at 01:30 PM
This is an awesome cause. We were introduced to Empty Bowls as part of the Upland Hills School community when my oldest son started about 5 years ago. The school has been involved for years with kids making their bowls and parents volunteering to make soups. The annual event includes music and fellowship with the end product being raising awareness and funds, which in the case of UHS goes to Gleaners. Brava for your efforts!
Kayce Gifford November 14, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Does that mean it is this Thursday, the 17th?
Kristin Bull (Editor) November 14, 2011 at 03:28 PM
Yes, Kayce. Thursday, Nov. 17.
Christine Laikind November 14, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Yes, Kayce, it is this Thursday, November 17th. If you cannot make it, and you want to help, we will accept $10 or $20 donations for God's Helping Hands.
Christine Laikind November 14, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Thank you Ben! We enjoy doing this and it is a wonderful evening!
Laura Cassar November 15, 2011 at 10:46 PM
Great news! The event has sold out! Donations for God's Helping Hands will still be accepted at Firebrick Gallery.

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