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Art Association making cups to help the soup kitchen

 

August 26, 2019

Havre Daily News/Derek Hann

Havre Art Association members Lynn Hester and Steve Helmbrecht click together Thursday some cups they made to sell as a fundraiser for Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen.

The Havre Art Association and the Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen are partnering for the Cups for a Cause Fundraiser, which will be selling handmade mugs at the annual fall art show in November.

"It's a big collaborative effort," Art Association member and local photographer Steve Helmbrecht said.

He added that it's been more than a decade since the Art Association and Feed My Sheep have partnered for an event, with the two organizations partnering then to sell bowls. He said that the fundraiser did all right, but after a few years wasn't something they were interested in continuing. But the two groups still wanted to do something. 

Helmbrecht said the Soup Kitchen had asked him to come up with a new idea and after some time he thought of the Cups for a Cause event. He said the cups he is making will be for sale at the Art Association's November art show at the Van Orsdel Methodist Church, from Friday, Nov. 1 through Sunday, Nov. 3. The mugs will sell for $25, with $10 going to the Art Association and $15 going to the Soup Kitchen. 

The idea is to attract people who would want to support the Soup Kitchen to the art show and give them some art they can take home with them, he said. He added that each mug is handmade by him and the designs for the graphics on the mug are done by the Art Association, the Art Association also helping putting the graphic transfer on the mugs.

"It's not that it's a huge one-time deal," he said, adding that they want to make it into something, a gift from the Art Association to people in need. 

The cups are also a better idea than the bowls because people can walk around with their mugs without worrying about spilling while they look at the art, he said.

Helmbrecht said he has donated all the clay and glaze for the fundraiser, Art Association members donated their time designing the artwork for the graphics and Montana State University-Northern donated the facilities and the firing to make the mugs. Helmbrecht also works part-time as the ceramics teacher at Northern and said the university wanted to get involved with the fundraiser because it likes to be able to give back to the community.

He and the rest of the Art Association will make about 150 mugs for the event, he said, and if they are not all sold at the art show they will have them for sale at a few of the local businesses in town. 

He said that to make 150 mugs it takes about 200 pounds of clay and 168 hours, each mug taking him 20 to 30 minutes. He added that they have approximately half of the mugs finished, going every weekend since the beginning of the summer to work on them.

"To make that many it takes some time," he said.

He added that they also were able to take the process a step further by adding the graphics on the mug. He said the graphics are printed on a decal using a laser printer. The laser printer cartridges are filled with iron oxide and, once the decals are placed on the mugs, they are re-fired at the temperature at which the iron oxide melts. During the process the decals are burned off and leave the graphics. 

He added that the glaze and the iron oxide are food grade and safe to use as well as microwave and dishwasher safe.

Helmbrecht said the Soup Kitchen is important for the community.

"Everybody's down on their luck at sometime in their life," he said. "It's a great way for us to give to those who don't have."

He added that it is important for the community to support the Soup Kitchen because it's a way to build Havre and advance people in the area.

"We are always looking for ways to build Havre, to enhance where we live, to have pride and confidence in where we live and work with people, together for the advancement of our community," Helmbrecht said. "We thought this was a great idea to get the art association with the Soup Kitchen - a real worthwhile cause in Havre - to go ahead and have them work together to make sure they got the materials and funding they need."

Art Association member and Soup Kitchen volunteer Lynn Hester said that she has been with the art association about two years, but has volunteered at the Soup Kitchen since the mid-2000s.

She said that while she was volunteering in the past year, she had a man ask her where the Soup Kitchen's donation bucket was. After she directed him to the bucket he put in $100 and told her that if it wasn't for the Soup Kitchen, he wouldn't be alive.

She added that the Soup Kitchen is critical for the community and people who are in need and needs the community's support and donations to continue operating.

The Cups for a Cause is a win-win situation for both the Art Association and the Soup Kitchen, getting more people to look at the local artists and collecting funds for the Soup Kitchen, she said. She added that it is also a great opportunity to get people together who would usually not and enjoy eachothers company.

Havre Daily News/Derek Hann

Hester said the Soup Kitchen is always looking for volunteers and if people are interested in volunteering they can call 406-265-4629 or contact it on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Feed-My-Sheep-Community-Soup-Kitchen-147393401972659 .

She added that if people want more information on the Havre Art Association they can visit https://www.facebook.com/HavreArtAssociation . It costs $10 to join and meet every third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Havre-Hill County Library.

Helmbrecht said when people give, it gives them a sense of fulfillment that can't be found anywhere else and the impact is felt throughout the community.

"When you can help somebody out, it just gives you a great sense of worth," he said.

 

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