by Sally Cohen

The Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia (LTSP), in partnership with the Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (NPIHN) will host the 15th annual Empty Bowl Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 20. There will be four seatings: 4:30-5:30 p.m., 5:30-6:30 p.m., 6:30-7:30 p.m., and 7:30-8:30 p.m.

The event will be held in Brossman Center, Benbow Hall, at LTSP, 7301 Germantown Ave in Mt. Airy.

The annual Empty Bowl Dinner has been a popular event at Chestnut Hill College (CHC) for the past 14 years and is moving to a new venue this year to increase parking and handle larger crowds. The Rev. Dr Phillip Krey, president of LTSP, said, “My wife, Rene, and I never miss the Empty Bowl event for NPIHN. Where can you find such great soup, bread and desserts and so many great friends all in one place? It seems like the whole city comes out for a good cause. We are so proud and honored to be hosts at the seminary this year.”

Last year’s Empty Bowl Dinner was orchestrated by over 1,000 volunteers. Diners can select a hand-crafted bowl and choose from over 30 types of soups made and donated by local restaurants as well as breads and desserts, all made by local bakeries and volunteers.

All profits from the event support NPIHN’s mission to mobilize resources and volunteers to assist neighbors who have lost their homes. After the meal, diners can take home their empty bowl as a reminder that each night, over 1,000 children in Philadelphia go without a meal or a place to call home.

“Our work during the past years demonstrates that when an entire community joins together — congregations, schools, organizations, business owners, artists and community members — we really can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in-need.” said Rachel Falkove, of NPIHN.

“We are so proud that 92 percent of the families we served never needed a repeat stay in a shelter, and many of the parents and their children have accomplished so much. They are college graduates, professionals and employees with full benefits and homeowners.

“So many of our NPIHN alumni return as volunteers to help other families in their journey from homelessness to self sufficiency, and that makes us doubly proud. It truly takes a village, and this Northwest Philadelphia village is one of the best!”

LTSP students will volunteer as servers. Last year’s event drew over 1200 diners and raised over $30,000. Diners will find ample parking at LTSP, Holy Cross Catholic Church at 144 E. Mt. Airy Ave. and at nearby New Covenant Church.

In addition to food, there will be live music, children’s events and Mike McGrath of WHYY’s “You Bet Your Garden.” Also a gift of cars to two deserving NPIHN families, donated by the Recycled Rides Program.

The cost of the event is $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors and $7 for children 12 and under.

LTSP is located on 14 tree-lined acres. It will mark its 150th anniversary in October of 2014. More information at 215-248-4616 or