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Annual Bread 'N Bowls Goes Virtual This November

A photo of a ceramic bowl with a note that includes a story on the impact of donations to the food shelf
Civic Learning and Engagement
Publication date: 
November 11, 2020

Bread ’N Bowls has been a Morris tradition for 13 years. Usually celebrated in April, the event has established a reputation for its delicious food and beautifully crafted bowls. The project has come to be a valued event in the community, raising awareness about violence and poverty in our community and providing support for local organizations.

Due to the pandemic, the April event was cancelled. But Andrew Stansbury, the studio art professor whose students make and donate bowls to the effort as part of the class, decided to try an experiment in August: Stansbury made more than 100 bowls and offered to give them away to anyone who could show they had donated to the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance’s Prairie Arts Camp scholarships, Someplace Safe, and the Stevens County Food Shelf.

The effort was successful, raising more than $1,000 for the organizations. So, when Administrative Director of Civic Learning and Engagement Argie Manolis’s first-year seminar course, typically a community-engaged learning course in which students can choose from several different service projects, couldn’t meet or engage in the typical way, she decided to duplicate the effort. Stanbury’s students, along with Stansbury himself, will provide more than 200 bowls this November in exchange for donations to these organizations.

“Food insecurity, crime, and lack of access to resources are always challenges in every community, but the pandemic has heightened these needs,” Manolis said. “My students are planning a series of virtual events to engage, learn, and build community.”

First, any community members living in Stevens County or Cyrus can order up to six bowls by simply uploading receipts showing that they have donated $10 per bowl. Bowls will be safely delivered to individuals’ doorsteps by Manolis’ students and other volunteers on Saturday, November 21, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

In addition, community members can participate in three contests that highlight the three organizations.

Next week community members who have agreed to participate will receive a mystery box of food that is typically found at the Stevens County Food Shelf. They’ll have three days to make a meal out of the food, and must use all the ingredients and can incorporate only four additional items. Winners receive a special handmade bowl made by Stansbury—and the whole community can help choose a winner on social media.

Children living or attending school in Stevens County and who are in grades K-6 can enter a children’s art contest. Parents simply complete an online form and upload children’s drawings. A winner from each grade will receive a $10 gift certificate that can be used at the Prairie Arts and Gifts store on Atlantic Avenue or toward the cost of Prairie Arts Camp next summer. The winners will have their art featured on the Bread ‘N Bowls social media sites as well. Winners will be chosen by Manolis’ students and PRCA board members. 

Finally, anyone interested in participating in a fashion contest can go to the Someplace Safe Thrift Store in Morris November 9–14 and purchase a top, bottom, and accessory and receive 50% off. They can snap a photo of their outfit and message it to the Bread ’n Bowls Facebook or Instagram page, and the community will vote on the winning entry.

“My students are trying to make the effort fun and educational. In the process, they’re learning about the Morris community, the three organizations, and the ways small towns can come together to make their communities thrive,” Manolis said.