If you live in Lake County, there’s a good chance your neighbor harbors a dark secret. Every day, thousands of people next door wonder how they'll scrounge their next meal. Lake County Food Pantry will shine a spotlight on an increasingly shared heartbreaking secret by dishing out soup and awareness about the breadth of local hunger at its “Empty Bowls” event on Feb. 8 at Wooten Park in Tavares.

Empty Bowls models the fundraising concept developed by art teachers John Hartom and his wife, Lisa Blackburn in the early 1990s, who saw soup as a super way to boost awareness about hunger and other issues and spark action. The event first launched in Lake County in 2009, however, this is the first year Lake Cares is managing it. This year, vendors will provide a selection of soups. Attendees will pay $10 for two soups, bread, bottled water, and a bowl to use — which doubles as reminder of the region’s daily epidemic of empty bowls.  

"Hunger can be a disaster year round,” says Irene O’Malley, executive director of Lake Cares, an independent community food pantry based in Mount Dora, Fla. “Add to that the disruption and devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria and that is a recipe for disaster for many Lake County families. Lake Cares has also experienced growth [in clients served] because of these events and the fact that food insecurity is so great. Empty Bowls will bring hunger awareness.”

“Food insecurity” is a U.S. Department of Agriculture term applied to Americans’ “lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods,” according to Feeding America. The national advocacy group fights hunger through a nationwide network of member food banks.

One in six Central Floridians currently battle hunger and food insecurity. In Lake Cares’ backyard, some 45,120 Lake County residents sweat daily over putting food on the table. O’Malley hopes to draw about 1,000 guests. Consequently, Lake Cares must collect 1,000 bowls for the event. Lake Cares welcomes bowl donations from local ceramic artists as well as bowls sourced through garage sales and thrift stores, etc.

Bowls can be brought to the Mount Dora office, 2001 West Old Highway 441, Suite #1 Mount Dora, Fla.

"Empty Bowls" will feature live music and strolling performances by Michelee Puppets. Guests can vote on the “People’s Choice” for favorite soup.

Vendors are needed.  Call Irene O’Malley at 352-383-0100 for an application.   For tickets, visit http://www.lakecares.org or call 352-383-0100.

Support Lake Cares Food Pantry While Getting your Holiday Shopping Done!

Mount Dora, FL – November 17th through 19th, 2016

Lake Cares loves to get eveyone into the holiday spirit and the best way we know how to do that is to open the doors and "Celebrate the Season" Candy Land style. Join us in downtown Mount Dora, November 17 - 19 at the Donnelly Park Pavilion, doors open all three days at 10:00 am. There will be several different types of holiday decorations for sale. Attendees will find great deals on decorated wreaths and trees, and a myriad of other holiday decorations. There will also be several vendors set up with beautiful jewelry, handmade items, gift baskets and unique decor items. Our very own "Volunteer Elves" will be selling their favorite holiday baked items, ready to take to all your holiday gatherings.

Lake Cares Food Pantry provides food and other neccessary items directly to the people of Lake County Florida who are in need of assistance. "Celebrate the Season" is one of the fund raising events we hold every year to create awareness for our organization while at the same time kicking off the holiday season. This year marks the 3rd Annual event and holding it before the holiday season officially begins will give people the opportunity to cross holiday gift items off their lists early, while supporting our fund raising efforts.

American Idol Star, Famous Antique Center, & Guinness World-Record holder team up to break a new guinness world record and help feed the hungry in lake county.

Mount Dora, FL – November 12th, 2016

On Saturday, November 12th, 2016, an unusual mix of people are attempting to break a new Guinness World Record for the Largest Potluck Ever!  David Oliver Willis (a former American Idol Star), Pastor Zach Zehnder (a Guinness World-Record Holder for the Longest Speech broken in November 2014), and Renninger’s Antique and Flea Market have teamed up to break this world record as an effort to help feed the hungry in Lake County, FL.

They have a collective goal to bring more than 2000 people to Renninger’s on November 12th from 3-6PM to break the Largest Potluck Ever record, which currently stands at 1558.  The event will start at 3PM and will feature entertainment from David Oliver Willis and his American Idol friends, including season 12 winner Candace Glover.  The event is FREE!

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