Last Tuesday, nearly 200 people turned out for the Merrill Community Enrichment Center Grand Opening and 1st Annual Empty Bowls ‘Pay It Forward’ Dinner; hosted by the Merrill Optimists.
Along with a bake sale and tours of the recently finished Enrichment Center, complete with craft and quilting rooms and a craft shop, was the Empty Bowls ‘Pay it Forward’ Pasta Dinner, to benefit the Food for Kids Program sponsored by St. Stepehens UCC of Merrill.
The dinner was held from 4:30 to 7:30 at a price of $10 per dinner. Each dinner ticket included one of 175 bowls produced in partnership with Studio 808 of Merrill and the many community members who visited the shop to craft the bowls. According to dinner organizers, the empty bowls stood as a reminder of those who do not get enough to eat in the local community.
“Everything went great!’ comments Enrichment Center director Tammie Mrachek. “The optimists generously included us with their Empty Bowls dinner in an effort to draw more visitors to the new Enrichment Center and overall we had a great turnout. I would estimate around 200 turned out total and about half of the visitors stopped over to have a look around the Enrichment Center.”
Pay it Forward Dinner co-organizer Jeni Hinz was also very pleased with the results of the dinner.
“I just could not believe the turnout we had!,” she said.
“This was our first time holding this event and I really don’t think anyone expected this sort of turnout! The turnout led to us raising just over $5,000 for the Food for Kids program which is so wonderful. We were so successful we are looking at making this an annual event.”