Community help needed before Feeding South Dakota's Empty Bowls Event in Pierre

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PIERRE, S.D. A recent study from Feeding South Dakota found that 15% of rural households in the state are food insecure. To help address that need, the organization will host its second annual Empty Bowls Event in Pierre at the end of the month.

Proceeds will support Feeding South Dakota's Mobile Food Pantry Program that travels across Central South Dakota to the most high-need, rural communities in the state and brings food directly to families living with food insecurity.

The event is a way to raise awareness about the 1 in eight South Dakotans who are food insecure.

"The empty bowls that are painted and then on display at the event represent those bowls that we have worked to fill in South Dakota and then those that we have yet to fill," Feeding South Dakota Central Operations Manager Russ Hofeldt said.

Help from the public in and around Pierre is needed and fairly easy. Just go into Pottery Plus and paint a soup bowl.

A little more than 100 bowls have been painted so far from families to local businesses.

"I get a lot of grown-ups bringing children in and trying to show the children that they can help, but it's a fun way of helping," Pottery Plus Owner Debbie Jensen said.

After Pottery 2 Paint decided to stay closed after a fire last year, Jensen opened up Pottery Plus and decided it was a no-brainer to help out with Empty Bowls.

"It's for a good cause and we have a lot of hungry people, adults plus children, and I hate to see someone go hungry," Jensen said.

The event will feature all of the handmade bowls made beforehand.

"You get an amazing supper. We've got soups that have been donated by a lot of local restaurants here in Pierre and you also get a one-of-a-kind bowl that you get to take home with you," Hofeldt said.

Soups will be donated from LaMinestra, Red Rossa Italian Grill, CHOPS and Richie Z's Brickhouse. Lynn's Dakota Mart will provide the dessert.

Anyone is welcome to paint a bowl up until February 20. Groups of painters are welcome, but make sure to call ahead and schedule. The studio fee to paint a bowl is $10, which is a discount from what they would normally cost. Pottery Plus donates all of the bowls for the event.

Empty Bowls is on February 27 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and children under 5 are free if purchased in advance. Adult tickets at the door are $12, children are $7. You can buy tickets at the Feeding South Dakota Pierre office at 20562 Grace Ave. or Pottery Plus located at 109 E Capitol Ave #101. You can also buy tickets online at the link to the right of the article.