Area residents respond to Empty Bowls event

More than 200 served on Nov. 10
Charlie Warner

Fillmore County residents certainly responded to the call to help those less fortunate several weeks ago. The 10th annual Empty Bowls Project, held Nov. 10 at the Harmony Community Center, brought in around $5,000. All of the money raised will go to Fillmore County food shelves and food pantries.

“We were very pleased and quite surprised at the great turnout we had,” said Amy Bishop, who was one of the main organizers of this year’s event. During the previous nine Empty Bowls, between 100 and 120 persons turned out to take in the culinary event. But the 10th annual drew more than 200 persons, which was a 40 percent increase over last year.

 For a $20 donation, those attending chose a bowl created by local and regional potters, which was then filled with various types of soups donated by area restaurants. Persons could choose from harvest mushroom, creamy wild rice, chicken noodle, potato cabbage, vegetable dumpling and even a vegan option, along with locally produced fresh-baked breads. And they could go back for as many helpings as they wanted.

“We had 10 different soups that were donated by restaurants in Harmony, Canton, Preston, Lanesboro and Decorah,” Bishop reported. “And we received over 200 bowls that were made by artisans from all over the area, including Decorah and Rochester. The response was fantastic.

“This just wasn’t a Harmony event,” Bishop added. “We had support from all over the area.”

When asked why she thought there was such an increased response this year, Bishop attributed it to a different marketing approach. Utilizing various social media platforms, they were able to create interest in the project from a larger area and demographic sector.

“Using Facebook, and the websites from chamber of commerce groups from all over the area was a big plus,” she added.

Bishop said there were about a dozen persons on the planning committee and about 20 persons who helped set up, serve and clean up following the event. As in years past, the Harmony Lions Club was very instrumental in ensuring the event was a huge success. Other service and church groups also donated to the project, both with workers and with monetary gifts.

Bishop said the planning committee will be holding a meeting in the near future to determine where the proceeds from the event will go. The members will also discuss what went well, what things might improve next year’s event and when it will be held. She said it will probably be the second Sunday in November, as in years past.