Lonnie Kemp and Janet Ewalt choose bowls to fill with soup during the 2011 Empty Bowls fundraiser in Harmony. This year’s event, set for Sunday at the Harmony Community Center, has expanded to include more of Fillmore County and organizers hope to be able to “Fill more bowls” by supporting food shelves throughout Fillmore County.  FILE PHOTO/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
Lonnie Kemp and Janet Ewalt choose bowls to fill with soup during the 2011 Empty Bowls fundraiser in Harmony. This year’s event, set for Sunday at the Harmony Community Center, has expanded to include more of Fillmore County and organizers hope to be able to “Fill more bowls” by supporting food shelves throughout Fillmore County. FILE PHOTO/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
As the holidays grow nearer and the spirit of giving intensifies, there are many opportunities to support local charities and organizations. One such effort, "Fill More Bowls in Fillmore County," an Empty Bowls project, will be held this Sunday, Nov. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the community center in Harmony.

This fundraising event raises money for area food shelves, which are utilized by families in need, especially during the holidays.

A group of Harmony women have been organizing this third annual Empty Bowls dinner for the past several months, with committees being established for various aspects of the event, including publicity, food service and the creation of handcrafted bowls in which to serve the meal.

For a donation of $20, one will have the opportunity to select a special, one-of-a-kind bowl and will be able to fill it with one of four kinds of hearty soups.

Sue Ommen, one of the committee members planning the event, explained this year's event is expanding and reaching out further into Fillmore County. She said the hope is more people in the area will not only participate by coming to the dinner on Sunday, but will also be more aware of the need to support our local food shelves.

The Empty Bowls meal is a simple one of soup, bread, crackers and water. Many of the bowls used for the soup have been donated by area potters and others were hand-painted by committee members and volunteers at Pottery Potiche in Lanesboro.

Over the past several months, area individuals have contributed their talents to the project of painting the ceramic bowls and local potters have donated multiple bowls for the event.

More about Empty Bowls

Empty Bowls is a special outreach program designed to raise money to help feed the world's hungry, increase awareness of hunger and related issues and to advocate for arts education. The idea took root in 1990 when an art teacher in Michigan, John Hartom, joined a drive to raise charitable funds in his community.

His idea was to organize a charitable event to give artists and art students a way to make a personal difference. Hartom's students made ceramic bowls in their high school art classes and the finished products were then used as individual serving pieces for a fund-raising meal of soup and bread. Contributing guests kept the empty bowl.

During the next year, Hartom and the other participants developed this concept into the Empty Bowls project and communities throughout the United States and Canada have started hosting similar events.

Harmony held its first event in 2011 after Judy Peters and Sue Haugland attended an Empty Bowls event in Decorah and decided it was something they wanted to bring to Harmony. Since that time, they have passed the torch onto new volunteers who are continuing their vision of establishing a tradition of giving in Fillmore County.

Join in the "giving spirit" and attend the third annual Empty Bowls event this Sunday at the Harmony Community Center. Share a simple meal with the community while benefiting the local food shelves.