Delicious smells wafted through the lobby of Nicollet Square on Thursday night as over 200 Twin Cities residents poured in to share soup and fellowship at the Kingfield Neighborhood Association's first-ever Empty Bowls event.
The event, like its better-known counterparts in Powderhorn Park and elsewhere around the country, was organized around a simple idea: each household donates $20 in exchange for a bowl handmade by a local artist, which they can take home after receiving a meal of hearty soup. Donations went to support Nicollet Square, a home for homeless young adults.
"It's a wonderful thing," said potter Michael Zionko, who donated 64 bowls to the event. "It makes the connection between homelessness and hunger, and people take a reminder of the issues home."
Local restaurants came out to support the event, too.
"I told them 'I'm sorry if we take business away from you on a Thursday night, but I'll be glad if we do,'" said Sarah Linnes-Robinson, the KFNA's Executive Director. "But they really stepped forward to support us."
Anodyne Coffeehouse donated desserts and coffee carafes, the Lowbrow and Patisserie 46 donated desserts, Kings Wine Bar, Sun Street Breads, Grand Cafe and Butter Bakery together donated 76 loaves of bread, Victor's 1959 Cafe donated rice, Litin Eco donated biodegradable silverware and cups, and Contempl8 T-Shirts gave the KFNA a reduced rate for printing volunteer t-shirts.
Soups were prepared by Chef Jeff, a catering company that operates out of Stevens Square's Plymouth Congregational Church. The company helps train MCTC students for work in the culinary industry.