STEP has wonderful opportunities to get involved in community events in support of our mission. We have opportunities for event planning, event volunteering, in-kind donations, and sponsorships. Details on STEP’s Empty Bowls, STEP in Steel Toe, and the CP Holiday Train follow. Contact STEP for any questions or suggestions.

Empty Bowls

ABOUT THE EVENT: Since 2002, approximately 1,000 neighbors join for a simple meal of soup and bread provided by local businesses for lunch or dinner. The primary purpose of the event is to build  awareness of food insecurity in our community. The event includes music entertainment and children’s activities. Participants receive a handmade pottery bowl to take home as a reminder of empty bowls in our community. A free-will donation  benefits STEP programs.

In 2018, Empty Bowls will be held Thursday, March 15 at Westwood Lutheran Church.


  • Event planning committee: Meets weekly for 2-3 months to plan all facets of STEP’s largest event.
  • Soup and bread donations: Local licensed establishments are invited to donate soup or bread. Donors will be acknowledged at the event.
  • Sponsors: There is a long-standing chief sponsor of the event. Sponsorships at the $250 and $1,000 levels are welcome. Sponsors will be acknowledged before, during, and after the event.

Contact if interested in committing in any way to Empty Bowls.

STEP in Steel Toe

ABOUT THE EVENT: Steel Toe Brewing hosts a fun and informal fundraiser for STEP in their back taproom. The evening event requires tickets to be purchased and includes beer samplers. Food trucks are also on hand. This popular event has sold out in the past.

In 2017, STEP in Steel Toe will be held Thursday, September 28 at Steel Toe Brewing.


  • Sponsors: There are sponsorships available at the $100 level. Sponsors will be acknowledged at the event. STEP would entertain the introduction of a higher-level lead sponsor to share that role with Steel Toe Brewing.

Contact if interested in committing in any way to STEP in Steel Toe.

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

Holiday Train photos by Todd Pernsteiner, 2016

ABOUT THE EVENT: The mission of the CP Holiday Train is to combat food insecurity in local communities. One thousand feet of 14 brightly decorated rail cars pulls into the community and stops in order to provide a pop-open concert from one of the cars. In 2016, the Holiday Train stopped for the first time in St. Louis Park, right in front of STEP. Thousands of people from St. Louis Park and beyond came out on a cold day to see the spectacle of the train and participate in the pre-train festivities.

In 2017, the CP Holiday Train will stop in St. Louis Park on Sunday, December 10 at West Lake Street and Library Lane.


  • Sponsors: Sponsorship levels for the St. Louis Park stop and pre-train festivities range between $250 and $5,000. In-kind donations for the event (event supplies, etc) can count for up to 50% of the sponsorship level.
  • Vendors: Businesses and nonprofits are invited to provide a service, product, or activity that would be a good fit for the event. Vendors would be charged a small fee or could be part of a sponsorship level.
  • Volunteers: There will be need for day-of volunteers to collect food and financial donations, as well as helping to orient attendees.

Contact if interested in committing in any way to the SLP Holiday Train stop.