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SoWashCo CARES/Empty Bowls Event Draws Over 600 People

More than 600 people attended this year’s SoWashCo CARES Winter Pack/Empty Bowls Event at Lake Middle School on Nov. 15. For just $10, attendees were given a simple meal of soup, bread and water. They could choose a handmade bowl to remind them of hunger in the world. The event raised more than $6,000 which will go to local hunger relief efforts through SoWashCo CARES and global hunger relief efforts through Feed My Starving Children.

After dinner, guests had the opportunity to learn more about community organizations and fill empty boxes with packaged food for families in need over the holidays. Throughout the evening, guests packed more than 5,000 meals and snacks which will help more than 200 students.

Cheryl Jogger, who organized the night’s events for SoWashCo CARES said, “I was excited to see our students getting involved and giving back. This is truly what we imagined when we created SoWashCo CARES, our community helping our community!”

community members at empty bowls event

The night was a partnership between numerous different organizations and contributors, including District 833 staff and students. Teachers Mary Otremba and Julie Christensen worked with other district art teachers and Community Ed staff so that students of all ages, along with adults in Community Education classes, could make pottery to donate. Lake Middle Orchestra Director Kathryn Buccola and Band Director Doug Bradley arranged for student musicians to provide background music during the dinner. Student volunteers included the WHS football team and their coach Andy Hill, Lake Middle’s Student Council members, Lake Middle’s Builder’s Club students and Girl Scouts.

The food served at the event was provided by area restaurants and grocery stores including Tinucci’s, Angelina’s Kitchen, Cloverleaf Bar, Done Right Food Services, North Pole Restaurant, Park Café, Ray J’s, Applebees, Trader Joes, River Oaks, Kowalski’s, Lunds & Byerly’s, Cub Foods and Hy-Vee. Wendy Tracy and Kelli Moore from District 833’s Nutrition Services department oversaw food preparations.

Eleven community organizations were also present to share information at the event:

  • SoWashCo CARES
  • Feed My Starving Children
  • Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf
  • Friends in Need
  • Stone Soup Thrift Shop
  • Youth Service Bureau
  • Woodbury Rotary
  • Big Brothers/Sisters
  • Woodbury Thrives
  • GIFTS (Gals in Faith Together Serving)
  • Warming With Love

Thank you to our “Celebrity” waiters!

  • Superintendent Keith Jacobus
  • Assistant Superintendents Julie Nielsen and Mike Johnson
  • Community Ed Director Bob Lawrence
  • Director of Teaching and Learning Services Matt Dorschner
  • School Board Members Ron Kath, Tracy Brunnette and Katie Schwartz
  • Principals Lela Olson, Sara Palodichuk, Jennifer Holt, Molly Roeske, Elise Block, Ed Ross, Ginger Garski, Connha Classon, Candace Hofstad, Karin Lopez, Sara Sorenson-Wagner and Jim Smokrovich
  • Representatives Tony Jurgens, Keith Franke, JoAnn Ward 
  • Mayors Sandi Dingle and Dan Lund
  • Twin Cities Live hosts Kelli Hansen and Emily Engberg 
  • Woodbury Fire Chief Shawn Kobylarczyk, CG Police Chief Craig Woolery, Woodbury Police Chief Lee Vague and St. Paul Park Police Chief Jessica Billmeyer
  • Director of Friends in Need Food Shelf Michelle Rageth

To learn more about the work of SoWashCo CARES, visit @SoWashCoCARES on Facebook or contact Cheryl Jogger at SowashcoCARES@gmail.com.