A recipe for feeding the hungry

With soup served during its popular annual Empty Bowls fundraiser, Family Sharing of Ozaukee County is able to provide hundreds of holiday meals to those in need

AMONG THE HUNDREDS of people who participated in Family Sharing of Ozaukee County’s annual Empty Bowls fundraiser last week were Jen Jahn and Judy Mueller. Proceeds from the event, which was held at the Ozaukee Pavilion on the county fairgrounds in Cedarburg, are used to provide holiday meals to families who can’t afford them. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

It was a full house for Empty Bowls last week at the Ozaukee Pavilion at the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds in Cedarburg, the largest fundraiser of the year for Family Sharing of Ozaukee County.

Hundreds of people filled their bowls with soups prepared by local restaurants and enjoyed a meal with friends and neighbors to raise money for the organization, which aims to help feed the county’s hungry residents.

There also were desserts, breads and beverages as well as raffles for items donated by local businesses.

“It’s a fun time with a serious purpose behind it,” Family Sharing Executive Director Julie Hoover said, amid the cacophany of the busy and crowded pavilion.

She stood before a banner that displayed squares filled with the names and logos of corporate donors. Each square, 600 in all, represented a family who will get a Thanksgiving and Christmas meal.

It was the seventh year for the event, which has grown each year, Hoover said.

More than 50 volunteers helped stage the event. 

Ann Manning, a human resources and talent development consultant in Grafton, was one of them, greeting people as they entered and offering directions, such as to one man looking for his fellow Cedarburg-Grafton Rotary Club members  who  hold their monthly meeting during the event each year.

“Our mission is to feed the hungry with dignity and respect. It’s something I want to be involved in,” said Manning, who is a member of the group’s board of directors.

Major sponsors included Pyramax Bank, Olsen’s Piggly Wiggly, Port Washington State Bank, Kapco Metal Stamping, Cupcake-A-Rhee, Flipside Cafe and Grill and Twisted Willow restaurant. 

Family Sharing operates a food pantry on Overland Court in Grafton as well as an adjoining upscale resale shop that sells clothing and household goods to support the pantry. 

In 2017, Family Sharing distributed more than 566,600 pounds of food to people in need, serving 4,773 children and 8,992 adults.

More than $69,000 worth of items donated to the resale shop were provided to pantry recipients, including approximately 268 new winter jackets for children, and more than 226 students received the school supplies they needed. 

“Everyone in the community can get involved,” Manning said. “They can donate, work in the food pantry, or shop in the store and be a part of this,” she said.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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