Empty Bowls – The Open Door Pantry

Empty Bowls Event 2022

By Shannon Butler

I was looking for something different and fun to do online when I came across the Empty Bowls event for The Open Door. Bill and I hadn’t attended one before, but after reading about it online, I realized if we didn’t order our tickets straightaway, I’d feel like we had missed out on something cool.

Empty Bowls is a community building fundraiser which helps The Open Door  provide healthy food options to thousands of people every month. It is a family friendly event featuring a soup lunch, with a thoughtful gift; attendees may chose a hand-crafted bowl to take home . The line-up of soup sponsors was an impressive list of local favorites: Andiamo Italian Ristorante, Valley Natural Foods, Lost Spur Golf and Event Ctr, Trail Stop Tavern, Jensen’s Food & Cocktails, Lakeville Brewery, Eagan Arms Public House, Barley + Vine Kitchen, Doolittles Woodfire Grill, Bourbon Butcher, Mallards Restaurant, and bread from Great Harvest. There was face painting and crafts for kids, and live entertainment for all. Bill and I visited the learning spaces which shared information on ways to be better stewards of our planet, with tips for making DIY environmentally friendly cleaners, composting, minimizing single use plastics, and reducing waste. At the Garden to Table planting station, folks could choose to plant a flower, herb, or vegetable seed to take home. With my love of gardening, of course we stopped by. ( Bill and I both opted for cucumbers… I picked a new-to-me heirloom variety, Bill planted one to pickle). We finished our tour of the room at The Mobile Lunchbox Program table where we helped assemble snack packs for local children.

As Bill and I sat eating our tasty soup, we looked around a room full of people talking, laughing, mingling, and enjoying being together after a long Minnesota winter. We witnessed the camaraderie of strangers and neighbors getting together for the cause of helping feed folks in our local community.

On a chilly, rainy spring day, that hot bowl of soup was just what we needed.

P.S. I placed my hand-made bowl in my work from home space. It is a beautiful reminder of The Open Door’s mission, and that there is still work to do feeling our neighbors to end local hunger.

Interview with Bill Butler, and Jason Viana, Executive Director of The Open Door

To find out more about The Open Door Pantry, and the innovative ways they are helping to end local hunger through access to healthy foods, visit

Butler & Associates Insurance Agency is proud to support The Open Door through our Giving with Gratitude Referrals for a Cause Program. To find out how your referrals can make a difference in our community visit

Featured Insurance Companies