The North Anoka County Emergency (NACE) Foodshelf & Closet will hold its ninth annual Empty Bowls fund-raiser on Thursday, March 21 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Oak Grove. All are welcome to stop in and enjoy a meal in exchange for a free-will donation.
The event will include a soup dinner with crackers, bars, ice cream and popcorn, and all proceeds will benefit the NACE Foodshelf. This year’s soups, cooked by volunteers, will be chili and chicken wild rice.
The event, which is being sponsored by the local Lions and Lioness clubs, will raise funds for the food shelf to purchase food and “is also a symbol of the empty bowls we are working to fill in our community,” according to a NACE press release.
All funds raised at the Empty Bowls event will count toward potential matching funds through the March Foodshare Campaign and Feinstein Foundation’s $1 million giveaway to fight hunger.
The March campaign is a grassroots effort to stock Minnesota food shelves. All donations of cash and food that NACE receives during the month are eligible for matching funds. In 2012, NACE received a check for $4,241.85 in matching funds.
The Feinstein Foundation provides a matching donation to NACE based on monetary and food donations received during March and April. In 2012, NACE received $442 from the Feinstein family.
Last year about 300 people turned out for Empty Bowls and contributed to raising more than $6,000. This year NACE has set a fund-raising goal of $7,000.
Those who attend Empty Bowls will have the chance to take home a ceramic bowl made by the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Ceramic Guild or Andover High School Art Club and to bid on many items in both live and silent auctions.
NACE is planning at least two other major fund-raisers this year — a Strike Out Hunger bowling event in September and hopefully a golf even this summer.
It is estimated that about 8 percent of Anoka County’s population has a limited access to nutritionally adequate food. In 2012, NACE served 11,432 people with food and clothing assistance, even providing home delivery when necessary. NACE serves East Bethel, Ham Lake, Cedar, Bethel, St. Francis and parts of Oak Grove, Andover, Wyoming, Stacy and Columbus.
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, the site of this year’s Empty Bowls, is located at 19921 Nightingale St. N.W., Oak Grove.