‘Empty Bowls’ a fun way to help people find new hope

Quick quiz: What combines art, conversation, delicious soup and help for the hungry?

The answer: The annual “Empty Bowls” benefit. This season, five days after spring begins, it will take place from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at Calvary Community Church at 12000 Roosevelt Road, St. Cloud.

Proceeds will go to Place of Hope Ministries, a center based in St. Cloud that helps people in need of food, shelter and referral services.

Empty Bowls is billed as a “family-friendly, fun, festive, artsy event,” and it certainly is. This time, there will be music all day long (bluegrass, gospel, piano, violin), clowns and face-painting, a silent auction, vendors with creative arts and crafts, a ballet group that will perform “Dancing for Jesus” at 3 p.m., and of course a lunch of tasty soups from area restaurants served in handmade ceramic or wooden bowls, along with bread and beverage.

Diners get to keep their bowls. They were crafted by artists from cities throughout the area, mostly by potters involved with the Art As You Like It program and Central Minnesota Woodcrafters.

Empty Bowls is a good way to spend a spring day having fun, meeting other interesting people and doing a good deed, all at the same time.

Tickets are $10 per individual, $30 per family (two adults and all children 18 and under). Buy tickets at Place of Hope (placeofhopeministries.org) or at Place of Hope (320-203-7881). Tickets will also be available for slightly more at the door the day of the event.

Empty Bowls began in 1990 when a Michigan art teacher decided to help raise money for the hungry by having his students make ceramic soup bowls for the fundraiser. It was successful and has since been adopted throughout the world.

Place of Hope ministers with one-to-one help for those who are hungry, disadvantaged by poverty or in the grip of addictions or other crises. At its hospitality center, it provides food, medical care, clothing and care items. It provides off-site shelters for when other shelters are at full capacity.

Place of Hope also operates the Living Care Center, a program that lasts for up to a year for individuals or families who are battling addictions and who want to restore stability and peace of mind.

In addition, the organization has a 31-unit supportive-housing apartment building at its Christian Living Hope Residential Center at Ninth Avenue S. in St. Cloud.

Thanks to Place of Hope, many people have found a new lease on life and are now living productive, happy lives. That alone is a good reason to participate in the March 25 Empty Bowls event.

Dennis Dalman

Dennis Dalman


Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.
Dennis Dalman

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