Marshfield Area Empty Bowls a Go for 2021

The team at Empty Bowls raised $6,569 for the Soup or Socks food pantry during last year's event and will hope to surpass that number this year. Submitted Photo.

OnFocus – Marshfield Area Empty Bowls will be holding an event distributing soup to those interested with the benefits going to Soup or Socks Food Pantry.

Empty Bowls will take place on March 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hotel Marshfield. You may purchase either pints ($10) or quarts ($15).

The event is in its 10th year and will look a little different this time around. The soup line will be a drive-thru instead of their normal buffet-style line.

Empty Bowls will be held at Hotel Marshfield and the drive-thru portion will be held at the event entrance on the East side of the building. Businesses that have contributed soups in the past are Blue Heron Brew Pub, Libby McNeill’s, China Chef, Weiler’s Convenience Stores and more. The soup will be served cold and there will be no ceramic bowls or a raffle this year.

Soups and Socks Executive Director Cheryl Lewis Hartl said the team thought about doing the event as it had been done in the past, but decided to play it safe and host a drive-thru event.

“We got together in January and the first question I put out to the team was, ‘Does anybody think we can have an in-person event?'” Lewis Hartl said. “The answer was a resounding no. We put our heads together and came up with the idea of just doing soup as a drive-through event only.”

Typically, people would enter and buy a ticket which gives them a handcrafted bowl by area students or artists and they would go through a soup line and fill up their bowl with their soup of choice. This year, soups will be distributed cold and ready to be warmed up and enjoyed at home.

Last year’s event was derailed by the pandemic and ultimately Lewis Hartl and the team had to sell their soups at Weiler’s convenience stores.

“Last year, COVID hit and we were actually setting up for the event when COVID hit,” Lewis Hartl said. “So we wound up having to cancel at 9 o’clock on Friday morning.”

Empty Bowls serves as more than just a meal that people can enjoy with family, it’s also a reminder of the hunger that plagues people around the world.

“While Empty Bowls is a fun event and you leave there with this beautiful ceramic bowl that someone has created, that bowl is hopefully a reminder that someone somewhere has an empty bowl and they don’t have food to fill it,” Lewis Hartl said.

According to the United Way website, Soup or Socks is a closet and food pantry and is a volunteer organization dedicated to providing clothing and/or food, at no charge, for those in need in the greater Marshfield area.

Along with the Empty Bowls event, Soup or Socks has helped families get through the pandemic with ample food supplies. Lewis Hartl said for the first 11 weeks of the pandemic, Soup or Socks had been giving away over 100 boxes a week of emergency food supplies. In total, around 1,300 boxes were distributed and around 4,000 people were fed.

For more information, head to the Marshfield Area Empty Bowls Facebook Page.

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Neal Hogden
Author: Neal Hogden