Empty bowls means a full tummy, at least for the event happening at Trinity Lutheran Church on Sunday, Jan. 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall (basement).

The church will host its annual Empty Bowls event, which has been held for the past five years. A few members from the church participated in an Empty Bowls event at Luther College and took the idea home, Mary Zaffke said.

“[We] found it a wonderful way to support local artists and raise awareness about issues of hunger, as well as donating funds to food shelves,” she said. “People are invited to come and eat!”

Empty Bowls was started by an art teacher in Michigan and another partner in 1990-91. Their idea to raise charitable funds for their community started with giving artists and art students a way to make a personal difference.

Artists and students create the bowls that are used as individual serving pieces for a fund-raising meal of soup and bread.

Guests who attended the event got to keep the bowl they ate out of. Though Trinity has not yet found artists to create the bowls, the congregation still enjoys hosting the event.

“We use this time to raise awareness around issues of hunger and poverty, all the while enjoying ourselves as we share delicious homemade soups or stews or chili and breads,” Zaffke added.

Attendees to the event can pick a bowl from the variety of donated bowls. Satisfy your palate for soup as you can sample as many soups and breads as you like.

“We hope that you will leave with a greater sense of gratitude for the food that we have and an understanding of how you can help impact the effects of hunger on our neighbors through your donation,” Zaffke said.

All items for the event are donated, which means 100 percent of the money given at the event is split 50/50 with the Houston County Food Shelf and the ELCA Hunger Fund. If people cannot donate, they are still welcome to attend the event.

The event is an important one, especially after the holidays are done. Hunger and issues related to hunger are alive and well in our communities, Zaffke said.

“Though the face of hunger might look different to someone from Spring Grove, as opposed to someone from Central Africa or other parts of the world, it’s still something in our country with so many resources, we can be more intentional about working at an ending.”

In 2016, the Houston County Food Shelf served 4,899 clients and 92,888 pounds of food were donated to the shelf.

“It’s important for us to know that our neighbors are affected and what we do can make a difference,” she added. “The Empty Bowls event is just one way that we can spend some time and raise our awareness and do some good, all the while being fed beautiful tasty soups and breads.”

The event has become a favorite mission event at Trinity Lutheran. Visitors are welcome to participate in the event.

“We’re filling our bowls with soups and breads because the money we raise filling them will help others whose bowls are empty to be filled,” Zaffke said.

Food donations of homemade soups, baked bread and muffins are accepted. Contact Mary Zaffke at 507-498-5823 or Karen Fried at 507-498-5611.

See page 10 for facts about hunger and how it affects many people in the U.S.