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Bowls for Hope serves River Falls community

March 4, 2015

The sixth annual Bowls for Hope charity event will take place at 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, in the University Center Ballroom to raise money for Bridge for Community Life, Inc.

Bridge, located in Hudson, Wisconsin, is a nonprofit organization that aims to help youth and adults with disabilities by providing employment services, social and recreational programs and training for community-based life skills, according to its website.

Early each year, the Bowls for Hope committee works with the River Falls community to raise funds to help a worthy organization make a difference in the St. Croix Valley, according to the UW-River Falls website.

For an entrance fee of $25 for adults and $5 for children, participants may select a bowl to keep from a variety of handcrafted, ceramic, pottery and glass bowls that have been created in studio classes at UWRF, River Falls High School, Meyer Middle School, the Renaissance Academy, or by local artists.

In addition to keeping a bowl, each participant may sample soups donated and served by area restaurants at no extra charge and vote on their favorite soup. The restaurant with the most votes wins a customized ladle to showcase in their restaurants if they choose, according to Mary Van Galen, a member of the Bowls for Hope Committee.

Some of the participating restaurants this year include: Bo’s ‘N Mine, Copper Kettle, Dish and the Spoon Café, South Fork Café, West Wind Supper Club, and Whole Earth Grocery, according to the UWRF website.

Van Galen said that although this event is a fundraiser, the focus of the event is not money, but rather building relationships and celebrating the community.

“We really, truly focus more on educating the community, giving them the opportunity to participate, and letting them be a part of something that’s so much bigger than themselves,” Van Galen said.

Even though the focus is not on the amount of money that is raised, the event brought in $6,600 for Grow to Share, Inc. in 2014, and has raised more than $28,000 for St. Croix Valley charitable organizations since it was launched in 2010 by Mary and Chancellor Dean Van Galen, according to the UWRF website.

Van Galen said that one of her favorite parts of the event is working with the students and artists who donate their bowls and the excitement she sees from them.

“They don’t expect anything out of it,” Van Galen said. “They are just excited to share their talent and they are excited that people are excited to get their bowls.”

Katie Johnson, an art education student, said that she has donated her bowls in the past and is donating what she believes is her best five bowls to the cause this year.

“It’s really exciting because it’s a way for us to get our art out there and we can also reach the community through art, which is really great,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that creating each bowl from start to finish usually takes up to an hour.

“I just chose ones that I thought people would take home and enjoy,” Johnson said.

Carson Giblette, an art student, said this is his second year participating in Bowls for Hope.

“I think I have fifteen to twenty bowls I am donating,” Giblette said.

For more information about Bridge, visit bridgeywd.org/. Visit www.uwrf.edu/BowlsForHope/Index.cfm to learn more about the Bowls for Hope event this year and access information about the past events.