Empty Cups event filled with donations and coffee

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A local church and coffee shop paired up Friday evening to host “Empty Cups,” a fundraising event to support local hunger relief programs.

The event was hosted by First Christian Church at Classic Coffee in Glendora. An extension of the church’s annual “Empty Bowls” program, which raises funds through the purchase of ceramic bowls every March, Empty Cups allowed customers who purchased a handmade mug to fill it with brewed coffee or hot chocolate.

Proceeds from the $15 ceramic mug sales supported local relief programs including Shepherds Pantry, St. Vincent de Paul and Glendora Police Department food vouchers. According to the church’s website, the purchase of one mug would provide 20 meals for a four-person family.

The hand-spun and uniquely crafted mugs were gathered from professional local potters, Citrus College classes and APU students in the City Links program. First Christian Church members created the fundraising event as a response to the increased need at food pantries.

“This is the first Empty Cups event and we decided to do this event because a lot of the funding has been cut to the food pantries we support, St. Vincent de Paul and Shepherds Pantry,” said Lynn Hendricks, the coordinator of the First Christian Church’s Fine Arts Academy and the Empty Bowls events. “So we created this secondary event and mentioned it to the manager here, Jonathan [Lambert], and he said, ‘We want to do it.’”

Classic Coffee is a popular cafe among college students and Glendora residents.

“[Lynn] mentioned it at the very beginning of the year, and even from the initial mention, I thought it was a great idea,” said Lambert, general manager of Classic Coffee. “We definitely hope it will be an annual event because as a coffee shop, there are very few ways we can actually touch a person’s life.”

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The money raised by Empty Cups will enable the church and the local pantries to provide a great number of meals to people in need as the holidays approach.

Many APU students and staff attended the event and purchased the handcrafted mugs to support the cause.

“The mugs are all so unique and creative and it’s a great community-centered event,” said Robyn Hardy, the assistant residence director of Trinity Hall.

Hardy and fellow Trinity Residence Director Rachel Lincoln said they were “fully satisfied” with their mug purchases.

When customers purchased the ceramic pieces, they also received a raffle ticket to place in one of the featured mugs for a chance to win the unique pieces. The raffles took place every half hour during the two-hour event, and four different mugs were introduced and replaced during each round.

Each piece featured unique patterns, splatters and markings, making the choice of a mug difficult for customers, who lingered at the racks in deliberation.

The church volunteers introduced a six-step process to the customers who desired the mugs: pay first, choose your favorite ceramic cup, rinse it at the provided station, fill it with coffee or hot chocolate and enter the raffle.

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Throughout the event, a line of customers persisted outside the Glendora coffee shop.

“The atmosphere changed because the customers were coming together to support a cause and Classic Coffee was the perfect venue for an event that reflects the beliefs of the owners and staff,” said junior communication studies major and Classic Coffee barista Ashley Bromley. “We’ve been really excited to have it and Jonathan purposely overstaffed so that we could give the best service possible.”

Hendricks and the other volunteers from First Christian Church were pleased with the turnout and also expressed hopes that “Empty Cups” will become an annual event.

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