Minnetonka Rotary wants to fill Empty Bowls

Barb Westmorland of the Hopkins Rotary and Dale Feste of he Minnetonka Rotary.
Tarrah Palm, Executive Director of ResourceWest and Peg Kennan, Director of the ICA Foodshelf.

March 15, 2017 at their weekly meeting the Minnetonka Rotary is still raising money for the Empty Bowls fundraiser. A matching challenge by Ron helped motivate the Minnetonka Rotary to dig deeper for an after the fact donation to Empty Bowls, which yielded an additional $1,402.

Empty Bowls is a fundraiser put on annually and promoted by Barb Westmorland, the Volunteer Coordinator, of the Hopkins School System. She is key in coordinating the event and said, “It is amazing to me at the amount of people who seem to show up every year to eat soup and say that they hadn't heard of our “Empty Bowls” event previously. That fact tells me that the word is getting out there and peoples hearts are in the right place, and the fact that we continue to grow, through word of mouth and some flyers, is absolutely incredible.”

The Empty Bowls event was held on Tuesday, March 7th 2017 at the Hopkins Performing Arts Center in Downtown Hopkins. And as a result of that event raised $70,474 to date and probably more funds like the $1,402 mentioned above will continue to flow into that total.

The Empty Bowls fundraiser provides funds exclusively to ResourceWest and the ICA Foodshelf. So the funds raised at Empty Bowls are used in our community and benefit people in need in Minnetonka, Hopkins, Greenwood, Deephaven, Shorewood, Woodland, and Excelsior.

Tarrah Palm, ResourcesWest Executive Director, stated, “The event actually builds momentum in the community with people making the ceramic bowls, and the promotion by churches, businesses, and members of the community. The funds are of tremendous value, but beyond that, on the event day, it binds the community together in support that we see with all the active participants and people who attend.”

Some of the details of the event include: 1320 handmade bowls were made and given away, 34 Hopkins Teachers were involved, 318 volunteers helped with many tasks, 302 entertainers contributed their skills, 54 fine art items were auctioned, 40 in kind sponsors provided support, and 1517 people consumed soup and bread at the event.

Barb Westmorland spoke to me as some length regarding the history of Empty Bowls. Empty Bowls was started in Michigan. I heard about the event in Duluth, and went there to understand their program. We started Empty Bowls, in Hopkins, 19 years ago with the intent to allow our students and the high school staff to give back to the community. We hold it outside the school to try to draw more people from the community not just school parents. We made it a free event asking people to contribute and they have done so generously in 19 years and we have raised 1.1 million dollars in support of our community.

Barb started to get emotional as she told me about the fact that this was her last year as Empty Bowls coordinator as she is retiring from the Hopkins School System. She recovered and went on to add that she would be at Empty Bowls next year as a volunteer, and knowing Barb she will do an outstanding job as one of he many volunteers who care about Empty Bowls.

Dale Feste, the president of the ICA Foodshelf and a Minnetonka Rotary member told me that this year the Minnetonka Rotary gave over $8,000 to Empty Bowls and again served as the clean up crew at the end of the event. The Hopkins Rotary members also serve and the Excelsior Noon Rotary is a sponsor. SuperValu has also been a consistent sponsor of the event, showing their support.

More than just these organizations, the whole community turns out to provide support and enjoy the soup, excitement, and entertainment at the event.

Further information can be found:
ICA Foodshelf: http://www.icafoodshelf.org/home.html
ResourceWest: http://www.resourcewest.org
Hopkins Schools: http://www.hopkinsschools.org/community-education/volunteer-partners/emp...
The Minnetonka Rotary: http://www.minnetonkarotary.org