Good food and good fun were had by all on Saturday, all for a good cause, as Square One Community Moose Jaw held its first-ever Empty Bowls Fundraiser at the Timothy Eaton Centre.
A $25 ticket got you in the door, where you had the selection of various styles and types of soup, and to top it all off people got to choose their bowl and take it home with them.
Square One Chairman, Della Ferguson says that the fundraiser was a huge success and was blown away by the community support and involvement.
“Saturday was a very meaningful and rewarding day,” says Ferguson. “I call it a village event because it was truly a coming together of the community to make it happen and to support it happening. We sold 105 tickets for the soup.”
In total, the event raised roughly $5,600 between ticket sales and a $1,000 donation by both Sask Energy and SGI.
The Moose Jaw Co-op and Real Canadian Superstore also donated gift cards to allow Square One to buy the dessert and miscellaneous supplies for the event.
The event also included 14 tables of craft vendors, a market space, and a silent auction.
“It was a phenomenal day, all-in-all.”
Ferguson adds that the soup stole the show, as no one left the fundraiser with an empty bowl or stomach.
“The Moose Jaw Families for Change made Shepards Pie soup, The Mad Greek had their delicious Chicken Lemon Rice, the Grant Hall had certified Angus prairie beef and barley, it had Saskatoon [berry's] in it, it was amazing, Gordon Food Services with field mushroom and parmesan, Canadian Brewhouse had wicked Thai soup, and Evolve Café had pasta bean soup.”
All the bowls for the bottomless soup were donated by local community organizations and individuals such as Regina’s YMCA Shared Services Mentorship Program, Moose Jaw’s Salvation Army, and many others.
“We hoped that they would take that bowl home and it would be a reminder that not everybody’s bowls are full, that there are empty bowls in people's lives.”
The funds raised from the event will go toward a couple of different causes – one of them being a warming shelter within the city.
“We don’t have a date on that yet but it takes a lot of work to do this kind of initiative, there’s so much foundational work that has to go on. Right now, we’re amid a systems mapping, and we are doing a point-in-time pit count, which has to be a credible count that is brought forward as statistics for foundations to support this.”
In addition, Square One is looking to open up a women’s emergency shelter within Moose Jaw. Right now, there are a few places in Moose Jaw, one being the Riverside Mission, but unfortunately, women aren't able to stay there overnight and the Moose Jaw Transition House as well. They only take women who are victims of domestic violence.
Ferguson also mentioned that with winter fast approaching, they are calling on all frontline agencies working with those that are homeless to come together on Dec. 1 to create an extreme cold weather strategy.
The hope is to create a streamlined system for the colder months that can be dispersed to all frontline agencies, so those living on the streets know where to go and what’s available.