Hutchinson Empty Bowls Reimagined

Covid-19 is raging in our region. Our area health care workers are maxed out and running on fumes. Our area arts organizations and local artists have all had to change our outreach programs due to the pandemic. And because of the ongoing health crisis, some of our biggest community food fundraisers had to cancel this year. Long term community health is in jeopardy. We are at a pivotal moment in the global pandemic where our community needs the most help

This holiday, we will tackle all three community challenges and thank our front-line workers, celebrate our community artist organizations, and raise funds to combat hunger in Hutchinson.

How you can Help: 
- There are more than 1,000 health care workers in our community, chip in to help us buy a bowl for everyone of them. 
- In Minnesota, 20% of our residents are food-compromised and going hungry. Help us fill the “Empty Bowls.” 

How it Works: 
- We will purchase bowls from participants in the nonprofit MN Pottery Festival (held each July in Hutchinson). Those will be given to our area health care workers. Simultaneously, we’ll run a fundraising campaign to fill the “Empty Bowls,” with all the proceeds being donated to local programs that combat hunger. 
- All of the bowls will be delivered to the health care workers the week of Christmas, and all of the remaining matching funds will then be donated to the McLeod Emergency Food Shelf and Common Cup. 

Our Outcomes: 
- Build up community morale by delivering thank you bowls to all the front-line health care workers in our community the week of Christmas.
- Provide much needed funds to small, independent artists. 
- Engage the community in positive conversations around celebrating our local health-care heroes, artisans, and nonprofits working together to serve our region.

Situation Update: 
- Secured 204 bowls in the first 48 hours! 
- Secured $5,000 in matching funds 

Total Fundraising Goal: 
$15,000 (+$5000 match) = $20,000 

Fundraising Breakdown: 
- $5,000 match from MN Pottery Festival 
- $15,000 goal with online Go Fund Me 
- $2,000 In-Kind contribution from Clay Coyote Gallery & Pottery (bowls, bags; paper; info cards; travel to curbside pick up bowls from artists; administrative time to organize project).
- $250 In-kind donation from Tom Wirt of New Clay 
- In-Kind contribution from Hutchinson Health Foundation (help with distribution and social media promotion) 
- In-Kind contribution from New Journey UCC (help with go fund me promotion videos and outreach) 
- In-Kind contribution from United Way of McLeod County (help with volunteer hours) 

About Hutchinson Empty Bowls: 
Empty Bowls is a grassroots effort by artists and crafts people in cities and towns across the country and around the world to feed the hungry in their communities. It supports food-related charitable organizations around the world, and has raised millions of dollars to help end hunger. In 2018, the New Journey UCC introduced the program to Hutchinson. Each January, the community gathers for a meal to share and takes home a bowl made locally. Sadly, the January 2021 event has already been canceled. 

About MN Pottery Festival: 
Held in Hutchinson each July, the Minnesota Pottery Festival brings together pottery lovers from all over to celebrate a weekend of ceramic artists. The festival hosts more than thirty potters and records more than 2,500 participants during the two day event. The 2020 festival had to be canceled due to the pandemic, as did so many other art shows, cutting off revenue opportunities for all these local artists. The MN Pottery Festival Board of Directors is currently planning for the 2021 festival with guidance from public health officials. 

Food Facts for our Region: 
- Before the pandemic, in 2019, the McLeod Emergency Food Shelf recorded 8,322 distributions and provided enough food to prepare more than 384,000 meals. More than a half million pounds of food are distributed each year.
- According to Feeding America, 461,200 people in Minnesota are struggling with hunger and of them 161,880 are children.


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Morgan Baum 
Hutchinson, MN
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