By Devon Cavic —

With the winter dragging on and temperatures staying frosty, the urge to indulge in something warm and cozy becomes overwhelming. There are few foods that remind us of the comforts of home and the memories of our childhood as much as a steaming bowl of soup. Many people don’t get the luxury of having a hot bowl of soup in the winter, or regular meals throughout the year, and this issue is what Bread for the World and the Menomonie Middle School student council are educating people about during the Empty Bowls event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 7 at the Menomonie Middle School cafeteria.

Empty Bowls will feature homemade soups in handcrafted ceramic or wooden bowls made by local potters, Menomonie high school students, University of Wisconsin–Stout art students and the Chippewa Valley Woodturners Guild.

For $17 you receive a bowl of your choice filled with hot soup along with Jimmy John’s bread, dessert and a beverage. If the bowls don’t interest you but you’re looking for lunch the price is $7 for adults, $5 for children and free for children three and under. All proceeds from the event go to Stepping Stones food pantry and shelter and Bread for the World.

Julie McNaughton, coordinator of the Menomonie area Bread for the World organization, has helped to put on this event for the last 25 years.

“There are two purposes for the event,” McNaughton said. “To raise money for Stepping Stones and to educate about the causes and ways to overcome hunger.”

Empty Bowls combines fun and entertainment with educational activities to raise awareness about the hungry and homeless in the local area and the nation. The event will feature a silent auction put on by Stepping Stones that includes handmade crafts, afghans, quilts and more. The UW–Stout Alpha Phi chapter organizes a bake sale and local musicians donate their talents throughout the three hours. There will also be educational displays, children’s activities and a station to write letters to Congress to support the reauthorization of child nutrition programs.

If you are interested in helping out with the event there are still volunteer spots open. There is a special need for people who are experienced in childcare or those that are in the Early Childhood Education major to work with the children’s activities. To learn more about volunteering, contact Julie McNaughton at mcnaughtond@uwstout.edu 715-235-9377.

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