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Bowls for Hope raises money for Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley

March 7, 2018

Before the doors opened, caterers and event coordinators were busily providing finishing touches to their contributions. As people crowded into the University Center’s ballroom, the sound of lively conversation filled the area.

Unlike most university-hosted events, this one consisted of more than just college students and faculty. Members from the River Falls community gathered for the ninth annual Bowls for Hope event this past Tuesday.

The nonprofit event raises money for a different charity every year. Proceeds are collected from both the cost of admission and the silent auction from which the event gets its name.

A wide variety of artists contribute different types of bowls to bid on. This year, 16 items were up for auction, which included wood, ceramic and fabric creations. Starting bids ranged from $30 to $210. Local elementary schools also contributed, selling creations by their students for $5 apiece.

This year’s recipient was Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley, a nonprofit organization that benefits families from the area. Their goal is to provide education, resources and support to families and other communities. The event’s proceeds will help provide emergency level support to families enrolled in their program.

Along the perimeter of the room, the caterers served samples of soup, which the guests would later vote on to decide the best recipe. Contributors consisted of local restaurants, including Juniors Restaurant and Tap House, Kilkarney Hills and Mei Mei’s Cookies. Twelve restaurants participated in total.

The event was well received by people at every level of involvement. Guests, artists and caterers alike sat down together to share stories and expand their soup palates.

“It’s a highly successful fundraiser for organizations that make great impacts on our community,” said Pat McCardle, one of the event’s contributing artists.

For the third year in a row, McCardle provided the wood bowls that were up for auction. He has a love for woodworking, saying, “I’m shaping and displaying the beauty of the wood.” Ever since he was first invited to participate, he’s been excited to involve himself with Bowls for Hope.

McCardle wasn’t the only one to share this sentiment. “It’s a unique opportunity for the broader community and the campus to support a nonprofit,” said Chancellor Dean Van Galen.  “It’s a bridge between UWRF and people who would not ordinarily visit campus.”

Although the total amount of proceeds is still being calculated, it’s clear that the event was a resounding success. For most of the night, the ballroom, which was prepared to accommodate 200, was full. The tenth annual Bowls for Hope event is already scheduled for the same week next year.