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Next Thursday, Rochester families will wait in line. And at the end of the line, in return for their donation, they will receive a simple meal of soup and bread and a handcrafted bowl. The donation benefits Channel One Food Bank and Food Shelf — Southeast Minnesota’s largest hunger relief organization. The meal and the bowl (donated by local students and artists) help raise awareness about the individuals and families that struggle with hunger in our community.

"Empty Bowls is important because not only does it raise dollars, but it also helps raise awareness," said Charla Irwin-Buncher, communication and development director for Channel One. "Families understand hunger. Kids understand hunger. This event is a great way for families to connect to Channel One, the work that we do and the families that we serve."

Empty Bowls got its start in Michigan in 1990 as a simple art class project. Locally, Empty Bowls is Channel One’s annual signature fund-raising event. Proceeds support Channel One’s annual efforts to provide food assistance to 6,500 households in Olmsted County through its local food shelf program and to 38,000 individuals in a 14-county area through its regional food bank program.

Admission to the event is $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Family tickets are available for $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Family tickets include two bowls and meals for two adults and up to four children. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Art Center, at Channel One or online. In addition to the meal, there will be kid’s activities, access to all art center exhibitions and a silent auction of professional art.

Family Time is written by Lindy Lange, editor of


If you go

What: Empty Bowls fund-raiser for Channel One

When: Thursday, Oct. 18, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Rochester Art Center, 40 Civic Center Drive, S.E.

Phone: Rochester Art Center, 282-8629; Channel One, 424-1721

On the Web:;

Channel One facts

• If your family lives outside of Rochester and is in need of food assistance, Irwin-Buncher recommends calling 211 for help in locating the closest food assistance program. For families in Rochester, she recommends calling or visiting Channel One.


• If your family wants to find out more about Channel One, visit their Web site or call to schedule a tour of their facilities. You’ll get to check out the giant freezer and maybe get weighed on the giant food scale. More importantly, you’ll get a look at the work Channel One does and the families they serve.

• If your family is interested in volunteering at Channel One, give them a call or visit their Web site. There are one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities for families with kids ages 10 and older, including sorting and inspecting food, repackaging food and stocking shelves.


• More family calendar — Page XX.

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