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Harmony “Empty Bowls” event fills hearts

Fri, Nov 16th, 2012
Posted in Harmony Features

Several members of the Empty Bowls Committee. Pictured from left to right: Marietta Dennstedt, Maureen Gervais, Ann Johannessen, Jeff Milne, Diana Sattler. Seated are: Kay Himlie and JoAnne Runkel. Photo by Barb Jeffers

The third annual “Empty Bowls” event took place on Sunday, November 11, 2012, at the Harmony Community Center in Harmony, Minn., from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event raises money to feed the hungry and to help the community become more aware of the fact that there are people going hungry here in Fillmore County and around the world.

The “Empty Bowls” event consists of a meager meal of soup, bread, crackers, and water. A meal such as this would be welcomed by a person who has nothing else to eat, and not only fills the visitors’ stomachs but fills their hearts as well by knowing they are able to help the hungry in our area.

When a guest attends the “Empty Bowls” meal they pay twenty dollars and can then pick out a unique bowl of their choosing. That bowl is then used to eat their choice of soups available. The four types of soups served this year were Tomato Basil, Clam Chowder, Beefsteak Noodle, and Chicken Wild Rice. All proceeds from the “Empty Bowls” event are given to the Fillmore County Food Shelf.

The food shelf is needed year round, but especially this time of year with winter approaching. Also with the expense of the upcoming holidays, families tend to fall short on finances and need the resources that the Fillmore County Food Shelf offers. Last year’s “Empty Bowls” event in Harmony raised $2,620.91 which was an incredible amount for only being in existence for two years.

This year’s 3rd annual “Empty Bowls” event raised $3,000 with the funds being matched by GiveMN, for a total amount of $6,000 going to the Fillmore County food shelf. GiveMN is a collaborative venture to transform philanthropy in Minnesota by growing overall giving and moving more of it online. GiveMN.org is a website that features every Minnesota nonprofit organization and helps people find, connect, and engage with the causes they care about.

“Empty Bowls” was originally started by John Hartom, an art teacher from Michigan. It was started in Harmony by Judy Peters and Sue Haugland who attended an “Empty Bowls” event in Decorah, Iowa and wanted to help the hungry in this area by doing a similar event. They enlisted volunteers and the first “Empty Bowls” event was held in Harmony in 2010.

The 2012 “Empty Bowls” committee consists of Sue Ommen, Diana Sattler, Kay Himlie, Maureen Gervais, Miriam Harstad, Marietta Dennstedt, Ann Johannessen, Joanne Runkel, Carol Beastrom, and last but not least, Jeff Milne. The committee has a lot of fun working together on the event and Jeff does not mind being the only man on the committee. Jeff says he is “a thorn among roses” and enjoys “working with so many beautiful women,” he stated. The group works together seamlessly offering help and donations without a second thought.

Many businesses and individuals offer their time and talent to make this event happen each year. One particularly generous donation this year was made by Potiche Pottery, of Lanesboro, Minn., donating 21 bowls worth one hundred dollars. Many artisans donated their art in the shape of bowls with bowls coming from Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. There were even necklaces with small bowl pendants available to choose in lieu of a soup bowl. The necklaces were made by potter Dawn Deines-Christiansen from Decorah, Iowa. Fresh bread was donated by the employees of Gunderson Lutheran Clinic of Harmony and was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by patrons.

The “Empty Bowls” committee would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who was involved in making this year’s event such a huge success, to the 132 people who attended, and a special thank you to the Harmony Lions’ Club.

Sometimes it takes a village to feed a child or a family. Harmony is one village that works hard and laughs hard while helping those in need. If interested in joining the “Empty Bowls” committee, or donating in any way, please contact Diana Sattler at (507) 886-6633 or by email at dfsat68@harmonytel.net. The “Empty Bowls” event takes place each year on the second Sunday of November. The date for next year’s event is November 10, 2013.

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