By Jayce Kaldunski - Hands4Hope Placerville Community Engagement Intern and El Dorado High School Club President
Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference volunteered once again this year at the Empty Bowls fundraiser at the El Dorado County Fairground. This is our third year working this event and it is truly a fun event to work! We dished up over 300 servings of soup made by John Sanders from the Old Town Grill, and each order came with a handmade bowl made by local students, a serving of bread, and a dessert! There were 13 Hands4Hope - Youth Making a Difference participants at this year’s event who helped distribute the soups and bowls, while also checking in guests as they came to pick up their soup suppers and browse and purchase artisan bowls.
We had two youth leads for this event, Emily Duong and Jayce Kaldunski. Emily is a junior at Vista del Lago High School, and helped with the event last year as well. She is very involved with the Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference Community Engagement Program and oversaw the volunteers at the event and led the checkout table. Jayce, a junior at El Dorado High School and our current Placerville Community Engagement Intern, was part of the planning of the event, attended the Empty Bowl Committee meetings, and also helped out before the event with packing up the food to be distributed.
The Empty Bowls event donates half of the proceeds to an international organization, Earth’s Angels, that is “working to feed the hungry, provide education, and eradicate maternal and infant mortality, one mother and baby at a time!” Empty Bowls is splitting the other half of the proceeds with two local organizations, one of which is the Upper Room, with a mission “to provide meals and services to members of our community living under the strain of poverty; treating all guests with dignity and compassion.” The Upper Room serves the community mainly through their Placerville dining hall. Every third Saturday of the month, volunteers from Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference spend time serving meals to the guests there. The other quarter of the proceeds is being donated to the Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference Emergency Food Pantry. The food pantry was started in 2020 and has been serving families throughout El Dorado County through bi-monthly distributions. Donations from Empty Bowls will be used to help purchase fresh produce to help supplement the dry goods the pantry receives from food drives, as well as other necessary items.
We cannot thank the Empty Bowls Committee and organizers enough for giving Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference the opportunity to involve the youth in our community as well as donating part of the proceeds to benefit our Hands4Hope Emergency Food Pantry!