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Filling ‘Empty Bowls’ to Raise Money for Local Food Shelves

The first annual Seven Dreams Education Foundation Empty Bowls event draws hundreds to Plymouth Middle School for a night of hunger relief.

720 eclectic bowls each handcrafted or personally touched by a local student served as colorful centerpieces Thursday night, for an effort to raise awareness about the growing hunger problem in the community.

“Everyone’s little personality is in the bowls,” Tri-Chair Sharon Pleimling said.

Pleimling, known as the ‘super volunteer’ by many, has been devoting at least 30 hours a week since September to prepare for the first annual Seven Dreams Education Foundation’s Empty Bowls event. All proceeds will help serve the and NEAR food shelves for the Robbinsdale Area Schools Community.

“It’s a fundraiser that’s affordable for everyone. Anyone can come and you can bring in all your kids and you can pay what you want.”

The Empty Bowls concept first began in Michigan during the 90’s when an art teacher wanted to come up with a reason for his ceramic students to make bowls.

“He decided they’d have a fundraiser and they’d serve soup in the bowls and all the money would go towards hunger,” Pleimling said.

Those scoops of soup signifying an effort to feed the hungry one bowl at a time, an example of philanthropy that is touching communities everywhere, especially right here in town.

Students from , , , , The Adventure Club, Girls Scouts, and all made bowls for the event.

“I think the education piece is important. The kids making the bowls are talking about the issues of hunger and it is raising awareness for families to talk about it at home and it’s an easy and affordable way to expose children to being active in causes.”

Nichol Sutton, The Vice President of Seven Dreams Education Foundation agrees.

“We have a lot of students in the Robbinsdale School District that have used the food shelves in the past few years, and I know a lot of our students are going home without a lot of food, so we want to bring this awareness to the community, not only to the parents but to the students too.”

Even local businesses are being touched by the effort to feed the hungry. Brooklyn Vo of Gion restaurant in New Hope was among several local businesses donating soups for the event.

 “We donated beef stew, because it’s great comfort food.”

 Her eagerness to donate her time and resources comes from past experience.

“When my family first came to America we depended on the food shelters for a couple of years and it helped us out a lot. This is a good time for my business to give back to the community as well as myself to give back to the community.”

Randy Fordice who just moved into the area with his partner Megan Simonson from Minneapolis were among the few hundred people who came to enjoy the soup, student musical entertainment and community camaraderie.

“When we moved here we wanted to make sure we found places to donate to, especially when it comes to hunger relief because it’s something that really touches us. When we read about this it was a no-brainer. We had to come,” Fordice said.

It’s that kind of enthusiasm volunteers like Sharon Pleimling are hoping will keep the momentum going for the future.

“My goal is that people are going to love it enough to come on board next year and get more people to help.”

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