Sit down to a warm bowl of soup while you help local individuals and families in need at Channel One’s 14th annual Empty Bowls.

"A ticket gets you a lunch of soup and bread and a hand-painted ceramic bowl to take home as a memento of the event and a reminder of those in our community who don’t have enough to eat," said Virginia Merritt, executive director Channel One Regional Food Bank.

"The soup is donated by local restaurants and served by local celebrities. The bowls are painted by local individuals, businesses and service groups. This event really is a community-wide effort."

Held at Mayo Civic Center, the event is designed to raise funds for and awareness about local individuals and families in need.

"Channel One’s food bank and food shelf serve more than 100,000 people in a 14-county region," said Merritt. "Last year we served more than 10 million pounds of food, more than 3 million pounds of that was at our Olmsted County food shelf. Seventy-four percent of the families who visit our food shelf are working families — they have someone in the family who is working.

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"There is a large working poor population. People who are working hard, working consistently, but still can’t make ends meet."

Tickets are available online, at Color Me Mine or at Think Mutual Bank for $10 per individual, $30 for families or at the door for $15 per individual and $35 for families.

"Based on last year’s numbers we expect about 1,300 will attend," said Merritt. "All the money raised goes toward feeding people in need through our food bank and food shelf. For each dollar we raise at Empty Bowls we can provide four meals to local individuals and families in need."

What:Channel One’s Empty Bowls

Where:Mayo Civic Center, 30 Civic Center Drive SE

When:11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11


On the

More about Channel One

• Anyone can paint and donate a ceramic bowl to Empty Bowls. Simply stop by Color Me Mine to paint one. Cost is $10.

• Channel One’s child feeding programs (Backpack, Snacks and School Pantries) operate in 31 schools in Olmsted County. The Backpack Program provides students a bag of nutritious, easy-to-prepare food and snacks every weekend. There is no cost for students to participate.

• Individuals and families in need are invited to visit the food shelf at Channel One, any of their food shelf satellite locations in Rochester (, or any of the food shelf satellite locations in surrounding counties ( Before your visit call Channel One for a quick intake interview.