Pita Jungle fights local hunger with third annual ‘Empty Bowls’ fundraiser

Pita Jungle will host its third annual “Empty Bowls” event for guests to purchase hand-crafted clay bowls from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15 to benefit Waste Not, a local nonprofit that feeds those hungry in the Valley.

All 15 metro-Phoenix Pita Jungle locations, including the north Scottsdale location at 14858 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., and Scottsdale – Shea location at 7366 E. Shea Blvd., will sell a limited quantity of Empty Bowls, with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting Waste Not which has helped the hungry for more than 25 years, according to a press release.

Pita Jungle hosts its third annual “Empty Bowls” event, Dec. 1-15 (Submitted photo)

Pita Jungle hosts its third annual “Empty Bowls” event, Dec. 1-15 (Submitted photo)

The Empty Bowls – hand-crafted, custom bowls created by Arizona Clay Association artists and their friends in the community – will be sold for $15 each. Guests, who purchase a bowl, will receive their choice of a small order of hummus, or a serving of soup, for dine-in or carryout, the release said.

“We are proud to not only continue our support of Waste Not, but also to be a part of the local Empty Bowls movement,” said Bassel Osmani, co-founder and co-owner of Pita Jungle, said in a prepared statement. “With this program, we extend to our guests the opportunity to feed our community’s hungry once again this year, as hunger remains one of the most prevalent challenges in Arizona. The beauty of Empty Bowls lies in being able to support local artisans and support our fellow neighbors in need, at the same time.”

According to the release, every dollar given to Waste Not feeds six people. Waste Not collected and transferred a record 2.5 million pounds of food last year for those who needed it most. In 2015, Pita Jungle and the Arizona Clay Association more than doubled the amount of bowls sold in 2014, for a total of $7,320 donated to Waste Not.

More than $500,000 has been raised for Waste Not by the Arizona Clay Association’s annual Empty Bowls event. Funds support the organization’s daily operations that make it possible to transfer up to 10,000 pounds of food per day to needy families in the Valley, the release said.

Waste Not helps alleviate local hunger by collecting excess perishable food that would otherwise go to waste, and deliver it to more than 100 agencies and organizations that feed the hungry, the release said.

According to the release, the organization’s trucks and drivers are on the road six days per week to answer this need, by collecting an average of 10,000 pounds of excess perishable food from restaurants, resorts, caterers, grocers and various other food purveyors.

Waste Not delivers the food the same day to more than 100 diverse agencies that feed the hungry including schools, after-school programs, daycare centers, rehabilitation centers, transition homes and senior facilities.

Go to wastenotaz.org and/or pitajungle.com.

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