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Filling empty bowls

Nancy Kiger (left) and her sister-in-law, Carol Kiger, looked over the bowls that Jefferson High School students made for a fundraiser to fight hunger. Nancy said the bowl she selected turned out to be extra special because it was made by a foreign exchange student from Guatemala.

Students at Jefferson High School served up awareness about global hunger last Thursday.

As part of the "Empty Bowls" fundraiser, pottery students hand-crafted 120 bowls to serve as a reminder of all the people who have empty bowls worldwide.

Those attending could buy a student-made bowl for $10 and receive chili, cornbread, water and a cookie or they could pay $5 just for the meal.

It was the first time the event has been organized locally and students had a "lofty goal" of collecting about $2,000, according to Kelly Hilbrands, senior social studies II teacher at JHS.

As it turned out, they were ecstatic to raise about $3,400, which they gave to the Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf.

"It went beautifully - over and above everyone's expectations," Hilbrands said. "We received so much support from the community that it didn't really matter how much money was raised; the event was a big success."

The students served 235 bowls of chili at the JHS cafeteria.

Students taking classes in social studies II, graphic design and pottery participated. They worked as a team, each taking a role by selling tickets, serving food or cleaning up.

Assistance was provided by Barb Larson with School District 206 Food Service, art teacher Robin Stoltz and Lynn Ransom with community education, which organized the ticket sales, Hilbrands added.

A silent auction was also held. Several local businesses contributed, including KXRA, Pete's County Market, Elden's Food Fair, VFW, Eagles, Billmark Insurance Agency and Cenex-REA.

There was also musical entertainment provided by Sami Steidl and Terry Kennedy.

Information about the hunger problem was displayed on the dining tables, including these facts:

• In 2010, 63 million pounds of food were distributed to Minnesota families.

• There were more than 3 million food shelf visits in Minnesota in 2010.

• From 2000 to 2010, food shelf usage has tripled.

• In 2010, 14 percent of Minnesota households didn't have any money to buy food.

• Children represent half of those served at food shelves.

For more information about hunger and poverty in Minnesota, see the website,

About Empty Bowls

Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort that works to end hunger. It began in 1990 and has raised more than $10 million. Craftspeople and others in the community work together to create handmade bowls. Guests are then invited to a meal in exchange for a cash donation for one of the handmade bowls. Events have been held in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Germany, England and Hong Kong. More than a dozen Empty Bowls projects are taking place in Minnesota this year.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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