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‘Empty Bowls’ offered for sale at Menomonie Farmers Market

‘Empty Bowls’ offered for sale at Menomonie Farmers Market

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Empty bowls, full hearts

Stepping Stones’ volunteer Lynda Paulson invited patrons to pick from a selection of handmade bowls and quilts created for Empty Bowls 2020 and offered for sale July 15. One of the organization’s largest fundraisers, the March 28 event had to be canceled when the state’s stay-at-home order was issued.

Not long after Wisconsin’s stay-at-home order was announced in mid-March, it became clear that Empty Bowls 2020 – scheduled for Saturday, March 28, at Menomonie High – would have to be postponed, perhaps until May. As the weeks passed, there was no doubt that with the state’s schools closed for the rest of the year, the event would have to be canceled.

Hundreds of bowls and dozens of quilts sat in storage. Many silent auction items had already been delivered. What could be done to fill a considerable hole in the budget left by the cancellation of one of Stepping Stones’ biggest annual fundraisers?

Creative minds got to work. The committee recognized that many people’s favorite Empty Bowls tradition is to choose a unique bowl handmade by local artisans, students and volunteers.

Some enjoyed bidding on handcrafted quilts, while others loved the competition of the silent auction of donated items and services.

On July 15, the bowls-and-quilts fans had a chance to check out Stepping Stones’ new fundraising booth at the Menomonie Farmers Market at Wilson Park.

The special fundraising sale will continue on the following dates: Wednesday, July 22 and 29 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Saturday, July 25 and Aug. 1, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Bowls will be sold for $10 each, while the quilts are priced as marked. For those who purchased advance tickets for this year’s event, Soup/Bowl tickets holders will receive one bowl and the chance to purchase a second for $5. Soup Only ticket holders can purchase one bowl for $5.

As for those silent auction aficionados? Look for an opportunity to submit your bids during a 10-day online auction set to start at the end of September.

Details will be announced in the weeks ahead. What a perfect chance to get some early Christmas shopping done – and support Stepping Stones’ mission of strengthening the Dunn County community by providing food, shelter and support to people in need.

Barbara Lyon is the development and communications specialist at Stepping Stones of Dunn County. She can be reached at or 715-235-2920.


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