Square One Community Inc. is holding an “Empty Bowls” fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Timothy Eaton Gardens to raise money for emergency shelters in the city.
The event takes place in the Timothy Eaton social hall and features hearty soups, craft vendors, and a silent auction.
“Square One is raising funds to secure a women’s emergency shelter and a warming centre for the City of Moose Jaw,” said Crystal Lockyer, a Square One volunteer. “We have lots of great restaurants and donors who are donating soup. We have the Grant Hall Hotel, Gordon Food Services, the Canadian Brewhouse, the Mad Greek, and Moose Jaw Families for Change, so far.”
“The doors open at 10 a.m. to browse the vendors, and we’ll be serving soup from 11 to 2:30,” Lockyer continued. “Tickets are $25 and for the $25 you get a bowl of soup, a bun, coffee, tea, and there will be dessert as well. And at the end of the event, you get to take your bowl home.”
Tickets are available by emailing email@example.com. They will also be sold at the door on Nov. 19.
A wide variety of bowls have been donated by local organizations.
Craft vendors with tables at Empty Bowls will include Lisa's Chic Boutique; Whimsy & Fancy; Sunset Gourmet; Usborne Books; Kountry Kazualz; Thimbleberry Artworks; Fran's Hand-painted T-Shirts; Gail's Crafts and Gideon Bibles; Epicure; and the Rainbow Retro Christmas Collection.
The idea of an Empty Bowl fundraiser began in 1990 in Michigan. A high school art teacher was looking for ways for his class to contribute to a food drive. A class project to make ceramic bowls for a fundraising meal was the result.
Guests were served a simple meal of soup and bread and took their bowls home afterward as a reminder of hunger in the world.
“We’ve chosen to take this on as a way of highlighting the need of those experiencing homelessness here in our community,” explained Della Ferguson, president of Square One. “Everything we’re having at this event is donated, so everything will go to the cause.
“We’re grateful for all the folks coming as vendors, those who have donated silent auction items, and we’ve had some major sponsors come into this event.”
The Share the Warmth SaskEnergy program has donated $1,000, Ferguson said. SGI has also donated $1,000, and the Moose Jaw Co-op has donated $200 for all the supplies the fundraiser needs.
Homelessness in Moose Jaw
Advocates have long decried the lack of emergency shelter options in Moose Jaw. The Rainbow Retro Thrift Store, operated by Moose Jaw Pride, had last year turned one of its rooms into a warming space that proved crucial to the housing-insecure population.
However, Moose Jaw Pride dissolved after its board discovered serious financial irregularities earlier this year. The warming space helped everyone from 2SLGBTQ+ youths fleeing violence, to social services clients forced to choose food over rent, to those struggling with mental illness, substance abuse disorder, or traumatic brain injury.
Riverside Mission accepts only men and can only house 10 per night. The new Souls Harbour Rescue Mission building is at least one full year behind schedule, and its director is discouraged as building funds are coming in very slowly.
Meetings of community-based organizations (CBOs), emergency services, social services, local MLAs, Mayor Clive Tolley, and others have determined that Square One may be best-positioned to provide a solution this winter.
However, despite promises of action from city leaders, assurances of help from the Ministry of Social Services, and intense frustration from the Moose Jaw Police Service, major winter storms and dangerous sub-zero temperatures have now arrived — and Moose Jaw appears no closer to providing adequate emergency shelter for its housing-insecure population.
To help — as a sponsor, vendor, volunteer, or in any other capacity — email firstname.lastname@example.org