Empty Bowls Community Gathering is Back in Grand Marais after Pandemic Shutdown

Empty Bowls Cook County is hosting its simple soup lunch and dinner fundraiser on Thursday, November 17th at St. John’s Catholic Church in Grand Marais. Lunch will be served from 11 am to 1 pm with dinner from 5 pm to 7 pm.

Meals consist of a bowl of soup provided by local restaurants and accompanied by bread, water, and coffee. The group wants people to realize that for some people in Cook County, this meal may be all they normally have to eat in a day.

The donation for a bowl of soup is $8, $12 if you are consuming two. Kids will eat for free.

In addition to the meals, there will be a bake sale. The Grand Marais Art Colony will be on-hand with bowls crafted by local artists that will be on sale. Folks who may have Art Colony bowls at home from previous Empty Bowls fundraisers that they no longer want may bring those in to donate for resale.

Started in 2006 with the Grand Marais Art Colony, Empty Bowls is a local non-profit battling food insecurity in Cook County by publicizing the issue and helping fund local agencies and non-profits that provide free or reduced food to their constituents.

Empty Bowls volunteer Beth Kennedy said, “One of the best things about Empty Bowls is that it fills the gaps left open in other groups.” So far this year Empty Bowls has supported 23 different organizations with grants ranging from $500 to $5000.

A group of five volunteers leads Empty Bowls: Beth Kennedy, Pat Campanaro, Judi Barsness, Donna Lunke, and Bobby Collins.

“We split the work to get it done,” Kennedy said. “And we make donation decisions by consensus.”

In a press release announcing this event, Empty Bowls said, “The pandemic is responsible for an uptick in food insecurity, both locally and nationwide.” They went on to say that non-profits in Cook County find it harder than ever to fund the food needs of local families.

“We want people to recognize that there is hunger in Cook County. And that there are numerous people and organizations working to address it,” Kennedy said.

More than half the children at Great Expectation School and ISD-166 are on free or reduced-price lunches according to Kennedy.

The fundraising goal for this Community Gathering is $60,000. Donations can be sent to Empty Bowls Cook County, PO Box 294, Grand Marais, MN 55604.

Donors may also want to consider sponsoring the event. An official Event Sponsor donation is $1,000 or more. A Business Sponsor level is between $500 and $999. A Table Sponsor contribution is $250 to $499. Those donations can be sent to the PO Box shown above.

Empty Bowls is on Facebook at @EmptyBowlsGM.