Civic, school leaders line up for Empty Bowls
15th annual fundraiser for ResourceWest, ICA Food Shelf hopes to raise $80,000
Empty Bowls organizer Barb Westmoreland knew she needed high profile community leaders to co-chair the 15th annual fund raising event.
Without too much convincing, she said, two mayors and a superintendent of schools have volunteered to be “the community face” this year.
“It is a wonderful tribute at this 15th year for our Empty Bowls Community Co-Chairs to be Hopkins Mayor Gene Maxwell, Minnetonka Mayor Terry Schneider and Hopkins Schools Supt. John Schultz,” Westmoreland said.
This year’s Empty Bowls event is 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins.
“It was an honor,” said Schultz about being asked to be a community co-chair. “The city and school partnerships … make it a lot more real and neighborhood and community focused.”
The March 12 event will feature more than 1,000 bowls and a silent auction that includes professionally made ceramic bowls, said Westmoreland.
Since 1999, Hopkins schools art teachers and Hopkins Community Education leaders have organized the Empty Bowls event to fight hunger in Hopkins, Minnetonka and the greater community.
Art students and community potters have come together to create hundreds of soup bowls to raise money for Hopkins nonprofit ResourceWest and Minnetonka nonprofit ICA Food Shelf, said Westmoreland.
“This very simple idea quickly became a community wide service project with over 1,500 people volunteering their talents and resources to help ensure that no one’s bowl will go empty,” she said.
Over the first 14 years, the Hopkins Schools community has raised $695,275 for local nonprofits.
“People like that everything stays in the community and the proceeds stay right here,” said Westmoreland.
Attendants will be able to choose their favorite handmade soup, enjoy live music and make a donation at the event.
Westmoreland organized a bowl-creating event for community leaders and Hopkins staff and teachers Feb. 6 at Hopkins High School.
Schulz was one of the leaders who had made a bowl, with the assistance of Hopkins High senior Matthew Chinn.
“It was a neat experience,” said Schultz, who added the bowl he created was his first for Empty Bowls.
Hopkins restaurants will donate soup and bread for the March 12 event.
“It’s a great chance to bring everyone together,” Schultz said, “It’s for such a good cause.”
Minnetonka City Attorney Desyl Peterson also attended the bowl-creating event for the second year. Hopkins student Olivia Harrier helped her design and craft her bowl.
“It was great fun,” Peterson said. “It helps immensely to have knowledgeable students helping. And, you have permission to get your hands dirty.”
ICA Food Shelf provided nearly 12,000 food assists in 2012, an increase of more than 100 percent since 2008, and distributed more than $300,000 last year to help families with rent, mortgage and utilities.
ResourceWest connected more than 10,000 residents to needed resources in 2012, including emergency financial support to more than 600 families, more than 1,100 Second Harvest food packages and more than 130 emergency food bags on behalf of ICA.
In 2012, Westmoreland said Empty Bowls raised more than $70,000 and she has loftier goals for this year.
“We’re hoping for $80,000,” she said.
Peterson said doing her part for the annual fundraiser is time well spent, and she always looks forward to the elementary school students who will sing at the event.
“The Empty Bowls is such a worthwhile event,” she said. “The best part is the little kids singing.”
For more information, contact Barb Westmoreland at firstname.lastname@example.org.