The 14th Annual Empty Bowl Dinner at Chestnut Hill College was held Wednesday night inside the private institution's Sorgenti Arena.

The event, hosted by the college and Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network, asks area businesses, schools and artists to donate handcrafted bowls, which participants then pay to have filled with soups donated by local restaurants.

Diners also walk away with the bowl and a good feeling knowing they've supported NPIHN's mission to help residents who have lost their homes.

"A tremendous effort goes in it to make this event happen," said Rachel Falcove, who heads NPIHN. "It symbolizes the whole concept behind NPIHN. Nobody does that much. Everybody does a little task and together we make a great thing happen."

This year, close to 1,600 people grabbed a seat inside the large gym. Kary Bacon, a Mt. Airy resident, was among them.

"It is a community event where you see old friends and where you meet new friends and you help people who are hungry," said Bacon as she sat and ate with a group of friends.

This year's attendance warranted the need for two dining times and off-campus parking arrangements. Falcove smiled as she surveyed a packed first setting.

"Events [like this] can never be too big to end the tragedy for family homelessness," said Falcove, whose organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.