Empty Bowls to be held at NR Middle School

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The 10th annual Empty Bowls event will be held on Thursday, April 20, from 5-7p.m. at the New Richmond Middle School. This is a new location from past years, so spread the word.

"The setup of the current middle school gave us the closest thing to how we were set up at the old middle school," said Director of Community Education Cheryl Emerson. " The number one reason we chose the current middle school was because the cafeteria is right off of the main commons and the gym. The biggest adjustment for us is that we will not have the time to set up the event in the days leading up to it, but we will have to set it up the night of the event instead since school is going on that day."

Empty Bowls is one of the largest fundraisers in the community for the Happy Kids Backpack program, that works to reduce/eliminate food insecurity for school-aged children during school year weekends.

The first Empty Bowls was held in 2007 and raised $8,200. Every year since then, the amount has increased significantly. Every dollar raised equals $7 worth of food that can be purchased to help the hungry. Empty Bowls 2015 raised more than $20,000 and that equals $140,000 worth of food that can be purchased for the program. Last year, the event raised more than $30,000.

This year, the event will feature nearly 300 bowls made by community members, middle school and high school students, sponsors, and local area professional potters. There are glass pendants, slumped wine bottles, silent auction, entertainment, fruit and veggie walk, tote bags, hunger bowling, popcorn, bake sale and more.

"We wanted to be a little healthier this year, so we changed our regular cake walk into a fruit and veggie walk, which will be lead by Chomp," Emerson said. "We will also have giant lawn bowling and a program run completely by students."

Soup that has been donated by your favorite community restaurants/businesses, along with fresh bread/breadsticks, will be served.

The event is free, and with every purchase of a bowl, you will receive a ticket for free soup and bread.

Silent auction items have been coming in strong and there are some fantastic items. The event will also have bags that will be sold for $5, with a donation from Westfields of material, and the talents of St. Luke's ladies, and First Lutheran and many students and other community members who donated either time, talent or materials.

"One of the really cool new things we have this year, specifically for the 10th anniversary of the event, is a quilt made out of all the t-shirts from previous events," Emerson said. "It is a really nice and huge quilt. It is beautiful and would probably fit a queen size bed."

The quilt, which measures 93 inches by 110 inches, was made by Karen Volkert, Barb Rogers and Hope Dietrich. It took 32 hours to make. The quilt will be one of the many items auctioned off during the live auction, which is being run by Paul Beukema. Along with the quilt, a lighted clay castle will also be auctioned off.