It's soup season, but also "help" season, thanks to the Empty Bowls fundraisers that pop up this time of year. One of the first is Kingfield Empty Bowls on Feb. 7 at Martin Luther King Park, 4055 Nicollet Av. in Minneapolis. Proceeds benefit Nicollet Square, which is home to 42 formerly homeless youth.

From 4 to 8 p.m., you're invited to show up and, for a suggested donation of $20 (although any donation is welcomed) you can choose a handmade bowl from an array that have been crafted for this event. Then you bring it to the person with the ladle, who will fill it with soup. Eat the soup, take home the bowl. Warmed stomach, warmed heart - such a deal!

One of the ladlers will be Daniel Swenson-Klatt, who owns Butter Bakery Cafe at 3700 Nicollet Av. S., and who will be dishing out his butternut squash soup. (Twelve Kingfield area restaurants are involved in the event, supplying soups, breads and treats.) Swenson-Klatt had been pondering a move from his original location and now has moved into the Nicollet Square building, where he's worked with five of the youth on internship programs.

"For this event, I am working with several youth to prepare soups," he said in an e-mail. "They were with me on Tuesday to help do initial prep and making vegetable stock for the soups. Tomorrow, another pair will come to help assemble the soups. I am really enjoying the opportunity to put my teacher/mentor hat back on, and I'm learning that my new kitchen space can be useful as a classroom, too."

Info about Thursday's event is at

Look for more Empty Bowl events throughout the state over the next several weeks. Some are listed at this website:


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