|Sonja Larson and Greg and Kim Konerza help people select a pottery bowl.|
|Soup server Pam Kotval with donation table assistants Rose Adams, Sandy Fritzen, Ken Shaur, Anne Leland, and a youth helper.|
Relieving hunger took a creative twist in Hopkins, MN when the ICA Food Shelf and ResourceWest utilized the Empty Bowls Fundraiser to help keep its shelves full of provisions for the local community. A total of $74,627 was raised in 2016 through Empty Bowls.
Members of Hopkins No. 11 have historically supported the ICA Food Shelf through charitable giving and direct food donations. Lodge Secretary Anne Leland was also on the Board of Directors for ResourceWest. The lodge has helped ResourceWest through the Back to School supply drive, winter wear donations, and the toy chest drive. ICA and ResourceWest help assist individuals by providing food, allieviating homelessness, and a range of services to help those in need.
For the past four years, No. 11 members have also volunteered and sponsored Empty Bowls as a way to show their support.
Lodge President Pam Kotval stated, "We are a small group, too few to organize an event on our own. Empty Bowls is an annual, community-wide fundraiser in Hopkins that requires hundreds of people to facilitate the various elements. It is an event which we can easily support as individuals and as an organization."
This year, the members helped at Empty Bowls by working the donation tables, supervising the bowl giveaway tables, and serving the soup and bread meal.
The event is an opportunity to work and socialize with others in the community. Many children in the community enjoy volunteering at this event. "It's a fun community-service project that helps us connect with others in the Hopkins community," Kotval commented.
The bowls are given away in return for donations the patrons make to get the soup meal and support the fundraiser. The bowls are handmade and decorated by school students and community potters throughout the year. There were classes in February for the public to come and make a bowl to contribute. Kotval remarked, "We enjoy the creativity of the school children in the bowls that they make and donate through their art classes. Many kids come to the event looking for their own bowl to take home."
The event is also an opportunity to promote Western Fraternal Life and the lodge. "Smaller lodges can really make a difference in their community by lending their time and talent to area non-profits. The planning and preparation work is shared with others in events like this, and because of the community involvement on so many levels, it can really result in a big difference," said Kelsey Logan, Member Programs Manager at Western Fraternal Life.
Other lodges can get involved in Empty Bowls because it is an international grassroots effort to raise money and awareness about the fight to end hunger. Similar events take place in cities around the country, which might be found by doing an internet search for "empty bowls" and your city. Getting an Empty Bowls fundraiser started means involving local art classes, artists, and your area food pantry.
Call 877-935-2467 to speak with a Western Fraternal Life Representative.